DA’s Office Receives $100K To Fight Gang-Related Crime, Support At-Risk Youth

February 20, 2024

For Immediate Release

Contact: Lindsay Corcoran 508-368-7252 or 774-670-8811

WORCESTER – Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr. announced today that his office received a $100,000 state grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) to fight gang-related crime, with a portion of the funds going directly into the community to support programming at the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester.

“The key mission of our office is to prevent crime,” said Mr. Early. “Gangs are one of the main drivers of violence and drugs in our communities. We want to support our at-risk youth, preventing their introduction to gang life and the inevitability of ending up in the criminal justice system. By supporting these kids, we can prevent crime, keep the numbers down in the jails, and guide our youth to brighter, happier futures.”

The grant funding was awarded to the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office through the EOPSS’ Project Safe Neighborhood Program to support the prosecution of gang crimes. This is the third time the state has awarded funds to this office to support gang intervention.

As part of the grant, a portion of the funds are designated to support prevention and intervention programming through a community organization. The office began partnering with the Boys & Girls Club with these grant funds last year.

“The Boys & Girls Club is doing such amazing work on prevention and intervention in the community, they are a great partner for this grant,” Mr. Early said.

The Boys & Girls Club offered programming to 250 kids in 2023 thanks to this funding. The funding supported 122 boys participating in a program called Passport to Manhood and 128 girls participating in a program called S.M.A.R.T Girls.

“This grant supported our gender-specific programs that address violence prevention, the building of self-esteem and anti-bullying techniques,” said Liz Hamilton, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester. “The curriculum was facilitated by professional Club mentors, which allows our kids to be their authentic selves and discuss issues they may not feel comfortable sharing outside of our safe space. The post-evaluations indicated that kids who participated in this funded program were better prepared for the future and had the tools they need to make healthy and safe choices.”

In the coming year, the Boys & Girls Club plans to offer drivers’ education and job training courses with the funding.

The Healey-Driscoll Administration awarded $1.9 million statewide through the Project Safe Neighborhood Program this year to District Attorney’s Offices and State Police to address gun crimes, gang violence and narcotics offenses.

“This new grant program fosters the partnerships and supports the collaborative solutions that make a meaningful difference in our communities,” said Governor Maura Healey. “By investing in these efforts, we’re empowering community partners to deliver vital services to at-risk youth while promoting safe, thriving communities across Massachusetts. We’re grateful to the Legislature for their partnership in making this critical funding available.”

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