WORCESTER – So far this year, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr. has donated more than $70,000 as part of his Drug Forfeiture Community Reinvestment program benefitting more than 20 programs across Worcester County, many focused on youth programming during the summer months.
The reinvestment program uses money seized from drug crimes to provide funds for community initiatives in Worcester County as a crime prevention and intervention tool.
“Through this program, we can put the money that once helped drug dealers bring poison into our neighborhoods and help prevent crime,” Mr. Early said. “Providing programming for kids from 3 to 6 p.m. is one of the most effective crime prevention tools we have. If we keep kids busy and around responsible adults, we can help them make the right choices, and cut down on their idle time. Crime prevention, especially focused on our youth like this, is a key focus of my office.”
Money is donated to various local programming based on a grant application process.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, many of these summer programs were not available to our local youth and some struggled to fundraise to support their programming,” Mr. Early noted. “We’re especially proud this year to be able to support the great work of our community partners who are acting as mentors and making a difference in the lives of our local youth.”
So far this year, funds have provided scholarships for students to attend summer camps, like at the JCC and the Boys and Girls Club in Worcester. Other funding has supported summer sports leagues, including: McLain’s Training Method, which offers co-ed youth basketball leagues in Worcester for hundreds of students; the Varsity Colonel Club, which hosts a field hockey camp; and the Gaels Football camp. The Cops N Kids program in Southbridge, which offers summer programming for 150 kids, and the Worcester Public Library’s summer reading program also received funding through the program.
Funds have also been used to support youth programming focused on building leadership skills and mental health. MENtour, a multinational charitable organization founded by Worcester native JuVan Langford, is coming to Worcester County with the mission to educate and advance the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of young men thanks to the support of these funds. A check was also provided to Rev. Clyde Talley’s organization Yes We Care, which hosts a 12-week Leadership in Committed Action program for youth to encourage personal growth and social responsibility.
Funds are also being provided for the Leominster-Fitchburg Boys and Girls Club, the Milford Youth Center, the Boys and Girls Club of Webster-Dudley and Tenacity, a program that promotes tennis and reading.
As a result of the money already contributed to these youth initiatives over the past 15 years Mr. Early has been in office and other crime prevention efforts, juvenile detention rates and arraignments have decreased by more than 70 percent since 2007.
Worcester County District Attorney’s Office
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