mayor speaking at podium in front of young people
(Photo courtesy of City of Boston Mayor’s Office)

Graduates of YOU Boston’s summer employment program gathered yesterday with Mayor Walsh, community leaders, public safety officials, and employers to celebrate the seven weeks they spent working jobs that benefited both the community and themselves.

The program participants – all high-risk young people – beautified school grounds, prepared hot meals for residents, and planted community gardens, among other jobs. At wages of $10 hour, they also earned an average of approximately $1,600 for the summer.

“All too often you hear about negative things young people might do in this city,” Freddie Velez, YOU Boston’s Assistant Deputy Director, said at the event. “But you all made a conscious decision: ‘That’s not who we are.’ Today we’re here to celebrate all the positive decisions you’ve made.”

Mayor Walsh urged participants to stay on that positive track. Reflecting on his own journey from alcohol addiction to public service, he told them: “There are too many good things in life to blow it.”

To learn more, read the Boston Globe story on the program or see footage and interviews from the event in this NECN News segment.