City Of Lawrence

 

Governor Patrick’s Safe and Successful Youth Initiative

From:  Office of Mayor William Lantigua
Subject:  Governor Patrick’s Safe and Successful Youth Initiative
Date: September 1, 2011
For more information contact Maria Cruz    Tel: 978-620-3013

Mayor William Lantigua has just submitted a formal request to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services for assistance under Governor Patrick’s Safe and Successful Youth Initiative. The Governor announced the program in July.  At its core the initiative is a comprehensive violence prevention strategy aimed at reducing youth homicides and serious assaults in Massachusetts.  It is built on the belief that youth are not disposable, violence is preventable and that there are resources, policies, programs and individuals across the Commonwealth upon which a coordinated effort to eliminate youth violence and must be built. Governor Patrick emphasized his concern in his sate of the Commonwealth address in January. 

Since the announcement of the initiative in July, Mayor Lantigua has been working closely with the Lawrence Police Department, the Community Development Department and other interested leaders around the city to develop a strategy to address violence in the city. 

In announcing the request to the state Mayor Lantigua stated:  “Our youth are our most precious asset and our pathway to the future and no child is expendable.  We owe our youth the best we can offer, all the time, every day.  It is with this over riding belief that I am submitting this request for assistance for funding under Governor Patrick’s Safe and Successful Youth Initiative. We have designated our strategy as ‘OUR PROMISE TO YOUTH’ and our approach will be ‘whatever it takes, wherever it is needed, for as long as necessary’.  The great city of Lawrence intends to keep this promise.”

Mayor Lantigua wishes to thank the civic leaders and public servants who have worked with him so tirelessly in the past month to develop the OUR PROMISE TO YOUTH strategy.   Mayor Lantigua went on to say, “the great city of Lawrence is blessed by many strong and effective community based and faith based organizations and many dedicated public servants committed to helping our youth.  Our residents and business leaders are proud of and committed to our city.

OUR PROMISE TO YOUTH will capture that strong sense of collaboration and go into the streets where our troubled young men are.  OUR PROMISE TO YOUTH will also be a key part of the city’s economic development strategy of the city by focusing on providing these young men with educational opportunity, job training and job placement along with the necessary social services to support them and their families.”  Police Chief John Romero has given his full support to the request.  In submitting the request Chief Romero stated, “this recent upturn in violence is staggering and physically punishing for a City like Lawrence.  However, it is imperative that we stay ahead of the curve and actively employ more preventive techniques and increase our presence in our schools, both in an official capacity as law enforcement officers but also in a more informal role to find ways to engage our youth in constructive activities and personal relationships.  We have been fortunate to have such a strong Shannon Grant Collaboration with the Community Development Department, the Boys and Girls Club, YouthBuild, the YMCA, the YWCA and many others.”

At the end of his announcement Mayor Lantigua released a poem written recently by a young girl in Lawrence.  In releasing the poem, given to him by a friend, the Mayor said, …”if anyone questions why we believe in our youth so strongly, they should read this poem.  It says all anyone needs to know about why we are so committed.”

THESE KIDS, MAN  By Kiara P. 

These kids, man
With so much potential
Graffiti on the walls
But not enough essentials
These kids, man
Growing up with no guidance
No one to look up to
No one to confide in
So they turn to their crew
For a little love
Getting girls pregnant
These kids, man
Corrupted minds since they were young
Smokin’ with old cats
And carryin’ around a gun
Seekin’ protection
‘Cause at home there’s no love
Just rejection
And neglection
So they always lookin’above
Wondering if God’s really there
If He really does care
These kids, man
All they need is a little attention
A little more affection
No more aggression
Just maybe a lesson,
To learn…