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Mayor Wu, city officials announce programs for a safe summer

“Too many people in our communities live with the fear and threat of violence."

Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Mayor Michelle Wu. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

In an effort to keep residents safe this summer, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced a slew of initiatives on Wednesday.

The programs include Community Ambassadors Program, “Adopt a Block,” Operation Homefront, and new job training and employment opportunities.

“Too many people in our communities live with the fear and threat of violence,” Wu said in a press release. “As a mom to two boys, as a neighbor, and as someone that cherishes the friends, family, and neighborhoods we have in Boston, I will move with urgency to make sure our communities are safe. We have been reimagining public safety through the lens of health, equity, and community trust. We are taking a wraparound approach to create new violence intervention and prevention initiatives and expand and improve existing programs.”

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The new Community Ambassadors Program will work to help those who are vulnerable to violence from guns and gangs, according to a press release. Residents in various neighborhoods will work in two-person teams to help “historically underserved and under-resourced areas and neighborhoods throughout Boston to ensure our most vulnerable residents are connected to resources they need and deserve,” the release said.

“This Community Ambassadors program is an extension of the mayor’s vision to make sure we’re bringing City Hall outside of the building and into the neighborhoods and the community,” Dr. Rufus Faulk, senior advisor for public safety, said in a press conference. “And our ambassadors are those individuals who already have those ties. We are leveraging their community buy-in, their social networks, to help us to bring resources from City Hall directly to the neighborhoods and individuals who need it the most.”

Operation Homefront is being reinstated. The program, which works with the Boston Police Department, “centers around community-building and family relationships in violence prevention and intervention,” the release said.

The program is made up of police officers, Boston school staff, service providers, and members of the clergy, according to the release. They will visit parents or caretakers to talk about their child’s behavior and offer resources.

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“We believe that collectively we’ll be able to connect families to resources and provide wraparound supports, building the deep relationships necessary so that students feel supported, and families feel supported, and they know how to get help,” Boston school Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said during the press conference.

The city is also re-engaging the Adopt a Block program, which works to help residents in neighborhoods that have experienced more violence during the summer.

“Recognizing the critical role that faith-based organizations play in delivering crucial programs and services, particularly to underserved Black and Brown communities, the ‘Adopt a Block’’ Initiative will support faith institutions’ efforts to connect and support residents’ safety and health,” the release said. “Additionally, the faith organizations will partner with the City to host summer community events, food distribution events, homelessness prevention services and neighborhood cleanups. This initiative will be piloted in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan.”

The city is also offering job opportunities for young people during the summer.

Dubbed The Green Jobs Initiative, it will help young people who are unemployed or underemployed to get jobs to help with “pressing environmental challenges,” the press release said.

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“Members go through tailored training phases that provide sector-specific on-the-job training,” the release said. “They will also be able to get relevant credentials in a field of their choosing. The ‘earn and learn’ model ensures that members are set up to succeed in career pathways. The Green Jobs Initiative will be supported by the Mayor’s historic $1 million investment in green jobs in the FY2022 budget.”

The Boston Centers for Youth & Families will also have various summer activities and programs for children and youth, including jobs for teens, sports, girls-only programs, among other offerings.

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