BOSTON – State Senator Eileen Donoghue secured $2.25 million in the Senate budget for youth outreach programs that reduce gang involvement and create opportunity in Lowell and other cities around the commonwealth.
“When young people lose hope that there’s a future out there for them, they stray from the path that leads to a happy, self-sufficient life, dropping out of school and sometimes turning to gangs,” said Donoghue. “By reaching out to these disconnected young people and providing them with the right resources, we can restore their hope and guide them back to the path to success. I was thrilled to help obtain funding for two programs that do just that.”
The Senate unanimously passed a Donoghue-sponsored amendment that boosts its support for Shannon Grants by $2 million to a total of $7 million. These grants reduce gang involvement and youth violence by supporting street outreach workers, education and employment programs, and collaboration between law enforcement and social service agencies. Last year Shannon Grant-funded programs served 3,000 young people in Lowell.
“UTEC really appreciates the continued leadership of Senator Donoghue in pursuing Shannon Grant funding. This funding will continue to support a critical partnership with the Lowell Police Department and other community partners to continue our work reducing gang violence in the city,” said Gregg Croteau, executive director of UTEC, Inc.
Another Donoghue amendment increased funding for the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition by $250,000. YouthBuild programs engage young people who have been both out of school and unemployed. Participating students work toward high school equivalent degrees and learn construction skills by building affordable housing in their communities.
“Senator Donoghue has been a longstanding champion of the YouthBuild Lowell program. Over the last nine years, our program has reduced the recidivism rate amongst our graduates to just 4.7 percent, compared to the national average of 67.8 percent. As a direct result of Senator Donoghue’s support, we will have the ability to provide additional support services to to youth in need. We appreciate her leadership on this important issue,” said YouthBuild Lowell Program Director Thula Sibanda.
“We appreciate Senator Donoghue’s strong advocacy for YouthBuild programs across the commonwealth. These programs have a demonstrated track record of success in providing opportunity youth the education and training they need to be resilient in the face of change,” said Terry Moran, executive director of the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition.