Youth center gets burglarized

September 12, 2008
By

JOHN RUCH

SOUTH ST.—The Youth Center at the South Street housing development was raided last month by burglars who took electronics, including computers kids relied on to do their homework.

It was a blow for the center, which has revitalized in recent years and now serves more than 70 kids in grades 1-8. But, director Maura Ramsey told the Gazette, the incident has also shown that the center has many friends.

“The community rallied around the Youth Center,” she said, adding that the crime and the response to it show “the best and worst of human nature.”

The South Street Youth Center’s facility in the basement of 15 St. Rose St. was burglarized sometime during the week of Aug. 17, while staff members were on vacation. It appears the burglars knew what they were doing. They forced open the doors with crowbars and took only newer electronics, leaving behind older TVs and computer equipment.

The items stolen included four computers, two printers, a photocopy/fax machine and a “recently donated DVD player, which the kids only got to watch one movie on,” Ramsey said.

Within a week after the burglary was discovered, the Youth Center had a possible donation of older computers lined up, Ramsey said. But, she said, other equipment is still being missed, especially the printers that are useful in homework. The Youth Center also held a community meeting within the development to rally support.

The South Street development, with a main office at 125 South St., is operated by the Boston Housing Authority (BHA). But the Youth Center is an independent program operated by Tree of Life/Arbol de Vida with help from the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center and grant funding from such sources as Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The center provides free services—including homework help and recreational activities—to youths who live in the development.

The BHA installed new locks on the Youth Center. Detectives at the local E-13 Police Station are investigating the crime.

For more information about the center, e-mail southstreetyouth@gmail.com or call 318-1139.