TEEN EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMS
Teen Empowerment has four program sites. At each site, we hire 12 young people, ages 14-21, for jobs as youth organizers. Their job is to address serious issues in their community by organizing initiatives that involve other youth in creating positive change. Youth organizers are hired for 8-10 hours per week during the school year and 20 hours per week during the summer.
TE has two sites in Boston, MA, a site in the Southwest Quadrant of Rochester, NY, and a city-wide site in Somerville, MA. As part of our programming in Boston and Somerville, we organize an annual Youth Peace Conference. We also work on special projects.
Youth OrganizingAt each of our sites, staff and youth organizers work together to:
- identify those issues they consider most critical in their community,
- design an action strategy that will involve others in having a positive impact on these issues, and
- implement the strategy.
Our youth organizing work focuses on building community among diverse populations. Within the youth organizer groups, youth from rival neighborhoods or factions are brought together to work towards common goals. Youth organizers then craft strategies to bring themselves and their peers into dialogue across lines of conflict. Often this involves working to create awareness among youth that turf battles shrink everyone's horizons. Another significant aspect of this work has been dialogues between police and youth to help resolve some of the misunderstanding and tension that is counterproductive to producing safe neighborhoods for all.
Our youth-organizing sites bring the concerns and the voices of youth to the table across a spectrum of community concerns and issues. TE's sites serve Rochester, NY, Somerville, MA, and the Roxbury and Dorchester areas of Boston.
TE staff members design and implement special projects at schools and for a variety of clients in governmental and nonprofit agencies. We work with many different types of agencies to adapt elements of the Teen Empowerment Model to their needs.
Since 1993 TE has organized this annual youth-led event in Boston, bringing together hundreds of young people to wrestle with serious issues through theater, dance, music, poetry, video, public speaking, and group discussion sessions. The Rochester site held its first youth conference in 2005, and the Somerville program organized its first in 2007.