TEEN EMPOWERMENT SOMERVILLE
"TEEN EMPOWERMENT A MODEL FOR COMMUNITY AND POLICE UNITY"
In the Somerville Times, Mayor Joseph Curtatone reflects on the impact of Teen Empowerment's 11 years in the city: Teen Empowerment a model for community and police unity. Here are some highlights from the Mayor's article:
- "Teen Empowerment is one of the great success stories in our city."
- "The lessons we’ve learned through Teen Empowerment’s success are still relevant today, as we face a nationwide opioid abuse epidemic, and as our country grapples with a criminal justice system that features militarized local law enforcement and systemic discrimination."
- "Every person who has ever been a youth organizer for Teen Empowerment deserves our thanks and gratitude, as do the staff of Teen Empowerment and our police officers who have embraced this community policing approach."
YOUTH PEACE CONFERENCE 2015
TE Somerville's 9th annual Youth Peace Conference, "True Life: I'm a Somerville Teen", was held on May 9 at Somerville High School. Thanks to the hundreds of youth and adults who turned out for the event, which was cosponsored by the City of Somerville and featured a show with original theater, music, and speeches focusing on issues facing teens in the city. Following the show, there were workshops and JP Licks ice cream!
CREATING UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN YOUTH AND POLICE
Teen Empowerment in Somerville has been doing work to bring youth and police into dialogue, as reported in the Somerville Times here: Youth/police sessions break down barriers and here: Somerville youth and police walking and talking together, and on Somerville Neighborhood News.
Youth organizer Edward Dahlstedt talks about how he went from "I hated all police" to working cooperatively with the police through Teen Empowerment dialogue sessions and other activities: Encourage teen-police connections in Somerville.
PEACE CONFERENCE 2014: RISING FROM THE ASHESThe 8th annual Teen Empowerment Somerville Youth Peace Conference took place on May 3 at the East Somerville Community School. This year's theme was "Rising from the Ashes: Movement of Improvement." The evening was filled with powerful theater, raps, speeches, and songs about the issues youth face in the city, as well as a tribute to TE youth from Mayor Joe Curtatone. Read about it in the Somerville Times: Performing for peace, and the Somerville Journal: Somerville's Teen Empowerment uses art to tackle social ills at conference.
CELEBRATING 10 YEARS IN SOMERVILLE
Teen Empowerment's 2014 Celebration of Hope and Caring took place at the Center for the Arts at the Armory in Somerville to celebrate our decade of successful programming in the city. Details here.
Read about TE's Somerville program in the Somerville Journal.
SOMERVILLE'S PEACE MONTH:
Giving Back to the 'Ville, Voices of the Seven Hills
April 2013 was youth Peace Month in Somerville! Check out Peace Month on Facebook.
"Late nite with Teen Empowerment" kicked it off with a show and healing ceremony at the Somerville Theatre on April 6. See some pix and read about it.
See what Mayor Joe Curtatone says about TE and Peace Month.
The month continued with events sponsored by Groundwork Somerville, SCAP, Teen Connection, Somerville GSA, Books of Hope, and more, and ended with the Villen's All Out Bash 2.0 on April 26 at the Armory. See "Somerville's Peace Month party to celebrate teen achievement in the wake of Marathon bombing, manhunt".
BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS
TE Somerville works hard to bring police and teens into partnership for the good of the community. Read about a recent police/youth dialogue session: "Somerville Cops and Teens Try to Break Down Barriers."
YOUTH PEACE CONFERENCE: MEDIA MEETS MY REALITY
Teen Empowerment's 6th annual Somerville Youth Peace Conference was held on April 28 at Somerville High School. This year's theme, Media Meets My Reality, was played out with music/rap, theatre, and speeches, all by youth. Read about it in the Somerville News: Peace Conference a Platform for Honest, Creative Teen Voices. At Wicked Local Somerville, check out TE youth Kaylin Gangi's guest column, "This is My Somerville" and an article reporting on the conference, Somerville Youth Share Stories.
The Peace Conference was co-hosted by Teen Empowerment and the City of Somerville.
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TEEN EMPOWERMENT, SOMERVILLE POLICE HOLD DIALOGUE SESSIONS
TE is working with the Somerville Police Department to break down stereotypes and thus increase safety in the community. Read about it in the Somerville News.
Check out some great photos of the event, like this one:
"TEEN ACTIVISTS MEET ELECTED OFFICIALS ..."Here's an article in the Somerville News about a recent meeting organized by Teen Empowerment and Groundwork Somerville.
In 2003, responding to increasing drug use, the rise of gangs, and an alarming rate of suicide among adolescents, Somerville's newly-elected mayor, Joseph Curtatone, commissioned Teen Empowerment to assess the situation and then asked TE to bring in our programs to help address the needs. TE's site opened in the city in the fall of 2004, with a focus on East Somerville and the Mystic Housing Development. TE staff established the program's new location at the Somerville Community Youth Center, where 77 young people took part in discussions of the issues facing youth in the city as part of the youth organizer interview process.
The group of youth organizers hired that year identified peer pressure and self esteem, especially in relationship to drug use and suicide, as issues that they wanted to address. They began their action strategy with an event to inaugurate the new youth center space, at which members of rival gangs came together to listen to youth speaking about the need for unity, as well as to eat, dance, and socialize.
In the fall of 2005, TE opened a second site in the western end of the city. The Somerville programs worked cooperatively to address the needs of the community and to help create a network of youth leaders. Somerville is a small enough city that TE can directly measure our impact, lowering rates of violence and engaging the talented youth of the city as stakeholders in their community.
TE's Somerville programming has now consolidated into one site with its own home, in the Old Firehouse in East Somerville.
Teen Empowerment's work in Somerville is funded through the Massachusetts Office of Workforce Development. We are grateful to Senator Pat Jehlen and Representatives Denise Provost, Carl Sciortino, and Tim Toomey for their support of our work in the city.