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  3. National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Communities: Boston
  4. City of Boston's Youth Violence Prevention Plan Spotlight on Enforcement: Youth Options Unlimited Boston

City of Boston's Youth Violence Prevention Plan Spotlight on Enforcement: Youth Options Unlimited Boston


Youth Options Unlimited Boston (YOU) is a citywide program that provides essential services to over 400 high-risk youth annually. Court-involved young people, ages 14-24, are referred to YOU for intensive case management, educational support and placement, job-readiness training through subsidized employment, and assistance with job placement to include long-term occupational skills training and private sector placement. YOU staff focus on a team approach, creating individual service plans with young people to ensure that they are moving toward attaining life, education, and employment goals that will lead to self-sufficiency.

YOU provides subsidized employment through our Transitional Employment Services Program (TES). TES allows young people to move through three different levels of employment as they improve on their communication and decision making skills, workplace behavior, and overall level of professional development. YOU staff continually support and monitor each young person's educational progress throughout their participation in all levels of TES to ensure their academic and employment status are both moving forward.

Transitional Employment Services Program

Career Development Model

This model enables high-risk youth to establish a positive work history and obtain the competencies required to earn and keep a job.  YOU’s model is designed to develop academic, job readiness, and occupational skills simultaneously to prepare participants for their next step, whether unsubsidized employment, occupational skills training, or higher education.  Participants progress through the three levels, and are compensated at $8 per hour for their participation.

  • Pre-Placement (Level 1) – two week curriculum to build soft skills
  • Bridge Team (Level 2) – community learning project, typically 12 weeks
  • Individual Placement (Level 3) – internships within organizations or companies which have agreed to provide close supervision and mentoring geared to this population
  • Job Search and Job Development – staff work hard with members to find the right job for each person and make it stick.

TES Employment Partners

Bridge (Level 2)

  • Franklin Park Zoo
  • Boston Schoolyard Initiative: throughout Boston
  • Brighton/Allston Congregational Church (BACC)
  • International Community Church (ICC)
  • United Community Methodist Church (UCMC)
  • Boston Parks and Recreation Department
  • Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • Long Island Shelter (BPHC): Organic Farm
  • Boston Public Health Commission (Men’s Health Crew)
  • Marine Industrial Park (EDIC)

Individual Placement (Level 3)

  • Long Island Shelter (BPHC): Culinary, laundry, clerical, and facilities maintenance
  • Department of Public Health
  • Dorchester Tire and Service Center
  • Franklin Park Zoo
  • Roxbury YMCA
  • Boston Redevelopment Authority
  • Green Beginnings
  • J&B Maintenance
  • The Boston Project
  • United House of Prayer
  • Park Rangers
  • Inner City Weight Lifting


Summer Employment

In collaboration with 17 community partners, YOU provided 134 jobs for youth during the summer of 2010. The majority of youth worked in a team setting with an assigned YOU supervisor. Additional youth worked with community partners in individual placements that demand more maturity and experience from the youth in the work environment and include weekly check-ins by YOU career development staff at the worksite.

Examples of community service projects included:

  • Maintaining the landscape of various Boston Public School yards. Each team was trained once per week by a horticulturist in entry level techniques that they used during the program.
  • Working on multiple projects for local Churches, including: landscaping, general maintenance, light painting, de-weeding, mulching and planting, food prep and shopping for soup kitchen, maintaining kitchen facility and thrift store.
  • Cleaning and maintaining various parks in the Charles River/Esplanade area and at Constitution Beach in East Boston. Maintenance projects included removing invasive species, trail maintenance, and cleaning parks and beaches.
  • Providing the Long Island Shelter with general care and maintenance of their two-and-a-half acre organic farm. Much of the produce cultivated at the farm is used by the kitchen at the Long Island Shelter which provides over one thousand meals daily.
  • Assisting the Boston Redevelopment Authority in demolishing and painting a 3,000-square-foot warehouse.

Two-Year Service Summary

  • 614 individual youth served
  • 541 subsidized job placements provided
  • 325 individual youth placed in subsidized jobs
  • 93 unsubsidized jobs
  • 64 long-term educational placements

For more information please contact:
Jen Maconochie
Boston Police Department