FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: October 13, 2011
CONTACT: Maria Cruz, Assistant to the Mayor
TELEPHONE: (978) 620-3013
City of Lawrence receives $800,000 from the Patrick-Murray Administration for Youth Violence Prevention
Mayor William Lantigua announces receipt of funding from the Commonwealth to launch his “Our Promise to Youth” Program
Mayor William Lantigua announced today that the city has received a grant in the amount of $800,000 from the Patrick –Murray Administration under the Governor’s Safe and Successful Youth Initiative. Governor Patrick promised earlier this year in his State of the Commonwealth address that he was making the prevention of youth violence one of his highest priorities for the rest of his term. Shortly after his address he announced that he was committing $10 million of funding to communities in the Commonwealth to address the alarming rise in youth related homicides and violent crime and invited cities to submit proposals to implement programs to deal with these challenges locally. In response, Mayor Lantigua, working closely with the Police Department and the Community Development Department and key community based organizations created the “Our Promise to Youth” Initiative.
First I want to thank Governor, Patrick, Lt. Gov. Murray and Secretary Bigby for their continued support and confidence in our great City. “Our strategy is built on the belief that youth are not disposable and violence is preventable, said Mayor Lantigua. He continued “The recent headlines about violence in Lawrence do not accurately reflect the strength and character of the youth of our city. We owe our youth the best we can offer, all the time, every day. 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”
The initiative is an ambitious collaborative effort to provide counseling, educational and employment training and job placement for young people while also bringing critical social services to their families. The key partners in the initiative are the Police Department, the Community Development Department, YouthBuild and the Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board. Each of these organizations will work collaboratively with The Department of Youth Services, The Essex County Sherriff’s Department, the Juvenile Court and the Probation Department and other established youth service agencies to identify and assist the youth most at risk of becoming perpetrators or victims of violence. In the early stages of the initiative, the nationally recognized, Lowell based Untied Teen Equity Center, known as UTEC will provide critical training and mentoring to the Lawrence partners.
Police Chief John Romero has given his full support to the initiative. Chief Romero commented, “These recent upturn in violence is staggering and physically punishing for a City like Lawrence. It is imperative that we stay ahead of the curve and increase our presence among our young people, both in an official capacity as law enforcement officers but also in a more informal role as mentors and role models. This initiative is another big step in the right direction”
The Mayor’s initiative comes as another significant piece of the city’s effort to maintain and sense of security and safety in Lawrence. The grant compliments other important programs being implemented through the Shannon Grant and U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Workforce Development Grant. The grant is for a one year period but renewable upon satisfactory performance and legislative approval.