Last week District Attorney Kevin Hayden announced the distribution of $60,000 in grants to Suffolk County nonprofit organizations dedicated to promoting the health and safety of the county’s residents.
Three nonprofits doing work in Jamaica Plain were among the 13 nonprofits to receive grants between $2,500 and $5,000 through Hayden’s Community Reinvestment Grant (CRG).
“Throughout my career as a prosecutor and a defense attorney, I’ve witnessed young people with promise veer onto dangerous paths due to lack of opportunity and guidance,” said Hayden. “We fail these children when our intervention starts in a courtroom. We achieve a more just and equitable legal system when we help communities provide interventions, services and opportunities necessary for youth to succeed. We can accomplish far more together than we can alone.”
In Jamaica Plain, Girls’ LEAP was one of this year’s grant recipients. Girls’ LEAP teaches girls and gender expansive youth in the Greater Boston area a unique combination of physical self-defense and socio-emotional skill building. Since 1997, the organization has served over 20,000 young women and gender expansive individuals to fulfill their potential and to protect their own safety and well-being.
The grant will help support the Girls’ LEAP Teen Mentor Program.
Another grant recipient this year was Jamaica Plain’s Hyde Square Task Force.
Formed in the 1980s by a coalition of neighbors and leaders in Jamaica Plain, Hyde Square Task Force connects young people to Afro-Latin culture and heritage to create a Latin Quarter and promote diversity among Boston’s youths.
The Hyde Square Task Force will use grant funding to support summer jobs for youth through the Jóvenes en Acción/Youth in Action (JEA) program.
Over at Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), an agency Hayden said has been helping improve the lives of 100,000 low-income individuals across Greater Boston each year through comprehensive services, is another grant recipient doing work in the neighborhood.
Each summer ABCD’s satellite office in Jamaica Plain helps find summer job employment for teens.
Through funding from the CRG grant ABCD will help provide stipends for youth participating in the nonprofit’s WorkSMART work readiness and mentorship program.
The grant program draws from cash and assets seized from drug traffickers to support organizations preventing youth violence or providing substance use prevention or treatment in Boston, Revere, Winthrop and Chelsea. State auditors have repeatedly praised the Suffolk County process for turning “the profits of crime into something positive for the community,” while carefully documenting all forfeiture-related income and expenditures.
“I look forward to visiting each of these partners over the coming weeks to thank them for their invaluable work on behalf of our communities,” said Hayden. “Public safety relies on equity, opportunity, engagement and tireless dedication to our youth. Each of these organizations – as well as so many other vital community agencies and nonprofits – have life changing impacts on our young people and the communities we serve.”