As part of the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative, the Worcester Youth Center, Straight Ahead Ministries, Worcester Police Department and Worcester Public Schools opened school gyms this summer to try to reach at-risk youth through basketball.
We went to Worcester East Middle School on Wednesday and Claremont Academy on Thursday. Twenty-seven kids showed up on Wednesday, fewer than half that on Thursday.
We met with organizers, Worcester Public Schools Liaison Rob Pezzella, District 3 City Councilor George Russell and the youths to hear their take on the program and the violence in the city this summer. Many kids declined to be interviewed, some only if we did not use their last names. The following conversations have been edited only for clarity and brevity.
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