The Center for Teen Empowerment is a youth organizing and social change program that has sites in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Somerville, MA, and in Rochester, NY. At each site, Teen Empowerment hires a group of youth, ages 14-21, and trains them as community organizers, providing them with the support, resources, and ongoing training they need to organize initiatives that involve both youth and adults in addressing community issues.
Teen Empowerment also provides consulting and training in our methodology, and we have published a book about how to run lively and productive meetings for people of all ages—Moving Beyond Icebreakers: An Innovative Approach to Group Facilitation, Learning, and Action.
TE Rochester's 2016 On the Rise Community Luncheon on May 5 brought together more than 600 beautiful souls to celebrate youth and their work to uplift their neighborhoods and schools, along with adults who champion youth leadership and voice like this year's honorees, Ricardo & Mary Adams and Hélène Biandudi Hofer. Complete info on the Rochester page
TE's Boston sites presented our 24th annual Youth Peace Conference to a sold-out house at the Paramount Theatre on April 30. Read about it. See some great photos on the Boston Police Department website, and check out this video of Boston police officers dancing onstage with youth.
Somerville's 10th annual Youth Peace Conference comes "Back from the Future": Read about it on Wicked Local Somerville.
WXXI in Rochester examines Teen Empowerment's outstanding work with the Rochester Police Department in a two-part series.
- Part 1: Police and City Youth: Trying to Improve a Complex Relationship
- Part 2: Youth Police Dialogue Project: Decade Long Effort to Promote Better Relationships
How does Teen Empowerment choose the youth that we hire? This article, Giving Teens Much Needed Jobs, explains it so well, and brings home the importance of these jobs to both individual youth and to the community. Thanks to author Erica Bryant for listening to teens and telling their stories.
Teen Empowerment makes communities safer by bringing police and teens together in dialogue. Boston Police Commissioner William Evans says, "I can’t say enough good things about our involvement and partnership with Teen Empowerment. The kids have taught us about the dangers of stereotyping young people as disinterested or detached. Quite the contrary, the kids from Teen Empowerment are engaged and eager to get involved and they’ve certainly taught us a lot about the power of positive dialogue and the productive change it can bring about." See more in the Jamaica Plain Gazette"
In Somerville, Mayor Joseph Curtatone reflects on the impact of Teen Empowerment's 11 years in the city: Teen Empowerment a model for community and police unity. In Rochester, the Democrat & Chronicle calls this Work to ensure Baltimore riots don't happen here.
See below for more media coverage of TE's work to build life-saving community between youth and police.
YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS IN SOMERVILLE
As part of their Youth Mental Wellness Ambassadors Program, TE's Community Facilitators have produced three powerful short videos. Watch, and share widely!
More coverage of Teen Empowerment's work with police:
Somerville youth organizer Edward Dahlstedt talks about how he went from "I hated all police" to working cooperatively with the police through Teen Empowerment dialogue sessions and other activities: Encourage teen-police connections in Somerville.
Teen Empowerment's Youth, Police, and Community Conversations event in December of 2014 brought together 40 Boston police officers and over 150 community youth and adults. Read about it in the Boston Herald: Teens and cops empowered to make a change. And read about it in the Globe: Boston police, teens, come together to talk about relations.
Teen Empowerment's Boston sites organized another youth-police community dialogue at the end of a busy and productive summer. Thanks to Commissioner Evans for attending and bringing so many of the command staff. Read about it in the Banner: Police, teens air differences in Teen Empowerment meeting.
Teen Empowerment in Somerville has also been doing work to bring youth and police into dialogue, as reported in the Somerville Times here: Youth/police sessions break down barriers and here: Somerville youth and police walking and talking together. The Somerville Neighborhood News reports here on a recent police-youth basketball game, with police and youth building their relationships as they work together on teams. We are grateful to the Cummings Foundation for a recent grant to support Teen Empowerment's work in Somerville.
More Rochester news:
Watch TE youth organizer Freemonta Strong discuss over-suspension in the Rochester schools with other panelists on WXXI's Need to Know.
The great work of Teen Empowerment's Rochester program is highlighted in this TV piece, profiling three TE youth: Teen Empowerment Youth Organizers move forward.
In 2013, UMass Boston released a comprehensive evaluation of Teen Empowerment's program in Somerville that concludes: "Teen Empowerment has succeeded in developing and maintaining an approach to engaging at-risk youth and reducing youth violence that can serve as a model for other communities. Its systematic approach to selection, engagement, and transformation provide the foundation for individual achievement and community change."
Youth Development Matters: A Proven Effective Anti-Violence Approach. David Price, executive director of Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation in Boston, blogs about the role of youth development and TE's programming in stemming violence and creating healthy communities.
Read about our executive director and TE's 20 year history in this 2012 Boston Globe column: "Teen Empowerment chasing a miracle in Boston."
Check out some great videos of TE youth and TE events at TeenEmpowermentTV on YouTube.
Teen Empowerment has produced a 25-minute DVD entitled Voices from Behind the Wall, featuring messages to youth from prison inmates in Massachusetts. We also have a curriculum and discussion guide to accompany the DVD. Click here to check out the DVD and the guide on YouTube. Order online. Here's an article about the "Voices" DVD (with video excerpts) from the Boston Globe: Prison counsel.
TE has 10 short videos posted on YouTube that illustrate how we work interactively to engage groups of youth and adults. See exercises in action from our book, Moving Beyond Icebreakers! Concentric Circles, Make It Up: Paper Chase, Wordstorm, Evaluation, The Human Knot, Name Wave, Warm-up Questions, Bag Toss, Zip Zap Zup with Foot-Stamp, and Wind Blows with Word.
Be a Friend of TE! To learn more about the Friends of Teen Empowerment, contact us.Download TE's publication, Voices of Children Left Behind in Massachusetts Public Schools.