In their own words: For two hours at a time, a safe haven and some hoops

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Youth basketball

Sun Staff / Worcester Sun

Youths play basketball at Worcester East Middle School on Wednesday. The open-gym program moved to Claremont Academy on Thursday. The program, a collaboration of the Worcester Police Department, Worcester Public Schools, Worcester Youth Center and Straight Ahead Ministries, seeks to bring together at-risk youth in a safe environment.

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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One thought on “In their own words: For two hours at a time, a safe haven and some hoops

  1. Where is the City in all of this to take the leadership and co ordination role.The City does not have a recreation division as it eliminated its full time professional staff a few years ago,Many agencies are doing great things but there is no co ordination or collaboration with the city.