Current Massachusetts data suggest that violence continues to be a major issue within the Commonwealth for young people. According to recent statistics from the Health and Risk Behaviors of Massachusetts Youth, 2013 survey, 12% of attending high school students reported having carried a weapon in the previous 30 days, 3% carried a gun in the past 30 days, and 4% were involved in a fight in the past year in which they were injured and required medical treatment due to weapon use. One fifth (20%) of students reported having been in a physical fight in the past year and 7% reported gang involvement. Eighteen percent (17%) of students reported being victims of bullying while 14% reported being victims of cyber-bullying in the past year, and middle school-aged youth reported that female students were more likely than male students to report being bullied 1-7 times in the past year (33% vs. 24%).

In order to address the myriad of youth violence in the Commonwealth, The Youth Violence Prevention Services Unit within MDPH has aligned two separate funding streams: Primary Violence Prevention Through Positive Youth Development and Youth At Risk: Secondary Violence Prevention and Intervention Through Positive Youth Development.

Youth At Risk Programs utilize a positive youth development approach, target the highest risk youth and include programming considered “secondary/tertiary prevention” activities. These “downstream” initiatives include:

  • Gang intervention programs
  • Support for outreach workers in neighborhoods with high incidents of violence
  • Diversion programs
  • Job readiness/life skills/employment programs
  • Financial literacy programs
  • High-risk youth mentor/apprentice programs
  • Services specifically catering to LGBTQ youth, immigrant/refugee/undocumented youth, youth with disabilities and homeless/unaccompanied/unstably housed youth

These programs also address a variety of health issues which both directly and indirectly impact a young person’s risk for violence including sexual violence, violence against LGBTQ youth, teen dating violence, bullying and suicide as well as other significant public health issues such as teen pregnancy and substance use. These programs serve the highest risk young men and women including “proven risk” youth, meaning young people.

Primary Youth Violence Prevention Programs focus on utilizing a positive youth development approach, target youth at high risk for violence but who are not necessarily engaging in violence yet and would include programming considered “primary prevention”. These “upstream” initiatives include but would not be limited to:

  • Peer Education and Community/Civic Engagement initiatives
  • Programs which work to build self esteem and self worth
  • Programs (including recreation) which work to promote leadership and teamwork
  • Mentorship programs
  • Programs which work to create “safe spaces” for disenfranchised youth including LGBTQ youth, homeless/unaccompanied/unstably housed youth and immigrant and refugee youth
  • Programs which offer assistance with school work
  • Job training/readiness and internships

In addition to the populations previously mentioned, these programs serve youth from impoverished communities or communities heavily impacted by violence or drugs, youth engaging in substance use and youth struggling in school. Programs under The Youth Violence section work with youth at the younger end of the targeted age range of 10-24.

For additional information regarding Primary Youth Violence Prevention and/or Youth at Risk programs, please contact Leonard M. Lee at Leonard.Lee@State.MA.US or call 617-624-5413 or Steven Smyth at Steven.Smyth@State.MA.US or call at 617-624-5490.

Primary Violence Prevention Programs

Agency and AddressProgram Name and Contact InfoRegion
Boston Asian Youth Essential Services
199 Harrison Ave.
Boston, MA 02111
YES Program
Greater Boston
Bridge of Central Mass., Inc.
4 Mann St.
Worcester, MA 01602
Safe Homes
Brookview House Inc.
2 Brookview St.
Dorchester, MA 02124

95 Moreland St.
Roxbury, MA 02119
Above & Beyond
Greater Boston
Center For Human Development Inc.
332 Birnie Ave.
Springfield, MA 01107

Bangs Ctr.
70 Boltwood Walk
Amherst, MA 01002
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County
Western MA
Chelsea Education Foundation
500 Broadway-Rm 216
Chelsea, MA 02150

Chelsea HS
299 Everett Ave., Room 1077
Chelsea, MA 02150
REACH Program
Chelsea MA
Community Action Fran Ham N Quab Reg
393 Main St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Western MA
Girls Incorporated Of Holyoke
6 Open Square Way
PO Box 6812
Holyoke, MA 01041
(413) 533-0796 x 109
Holyoke/Western MA
Inquilinos Boricuas En Accion
405 Shawmut Ave.
Boston MA 02118
Cacique Youth Program
Greater Boston
International Institute Of Greater Lawrence
125 Amesbury St.
Lawrence, MA 01840

137 Monument St.
Haverhill, MA 01832
Haverhill VIP
L U K Crisis Center Inc.
545 Westminster St.
Fitchburg, MA 01420
Youth Development Services
Lawrence Community Works
168 Newbury St.
Lawrence, MA 01841
Movement City Youth Network
Lowell Community Health Center
161 Jackson St., 2nd Floor
Lowell, MA 01852
Lowell Youth Council
Mass Coalition For Occupational Safety And Health
1532B Dorchester Ave.
Dorchester, MA 02122
Teens Lead At Work
Greater Boston
Northstar Learning Center
53 Linden St.
New Bedford, MA 02740

Roosevelt Middle School
119 Frederick St.
New Bedford, MA 02740
Tying on Success & Leading Senoritas
New Bedford
Old Colony YMCA
320 Main St.
Brockton, MA 02301
Kidz Konnect
Roxbury Youthworks
841 Parker St . Suite 104-106
Roxbury Crossing, MA 02120
YOLO Program
Greater Boston
Sociedad Latina
1530 Tremont St.
Roxbury, MA 02120
Pathways to Success
Greater Boston
Springfield School Volunteers
Smith College
Morgan Hall - 37 Prospect St.
Northampton, MA 01060
420 Pearl St.
Malden, MA 02148
YMCA o0f Metro North
2 Centennial Dr-ste 4A
Peabody, MA 01960

20 Neptune Blvd.
Lynn, MA 01902
Kaya Program

Previously Funded Youth at Risk (YARG) Program

Agency and AddressProgram Name and Contact InfoRegion
Aids Action
1555 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138
Youth on Fire
Includes a collaboration with other AAC programs including TransCEND
Metro West Region
Homeless GLBT youth
14 Beacon Street, Suite 620
Boston, MA 02108
BAGLY Trans Advocacy and Education Project

Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth
Boston Region
Transgender Youth
GLBT Youth
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center 
99 Bishop Alan Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139
Stronger Programs for Healthier Youth    
Phone: (800) 841-8371
Boston Foundation
75 Arlington Street - 10th floor
Boston, MA 02116
SreetSafe Boston
Greater Boston
Boston Medical Center Corp. /BMC Emergency Dept.
Dowling 1st fl, 771 Albany St.
Boston, MA 02118
Violence Intervention Advocacy Program 617-414-4926
Greater Boston
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke
70 Nick Cosmos Way
Holyoke, MA 01040
Phone: (413) 534-7366
Western MA/ Holyoke
Brockton Educational Foundation, Inc.
43 Crescent St.
Brockton, MA 02301

Keith School
175 Warren Avenue-2nd floor
Brockton, MA 02301
Pathways Center
Phone: (508) 894-4377
South Brockton
Center for Teen Empowerment, Inc.
384 Warren St - 3rd floor
Boston, MA 02119
Phone: 617-536-4266
Doc Wayne Youth Services, Inc.
418 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Do The Good
Phone:  617-600-6865
Central MA & Eastern MA
Family & Children Services of Greater Lynn
111 N Common St.
Lynn, MA 01902
Teen Scene
Phone: (781) 598-5517
Lynn Shore
Family Services of Merrimack Valley
430 N Canal St.
Lawrence, MA 01840
Phone: 978-327-6600
Northeast / Lawrence, MA
Fenway Community Health Center Inc.
1340 Boylston St,
Boston, MA 02215
Violence Recovery Program
Greater Fall River Re-Creation
45 Rock Street
Fall River, MA 02720
Project Speak
Phone: 508-679-0922
Fall River
Heath Resources in Action (HRIA)
95 Berkeley St #201
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: (617) 451-0049
Health Services Partnership of Dorchester/b/a DOTWELL
1353 Dorchester Ave.
Dorchester, MA 02122
Gen Next Acad.
Phone: 617-822-8329
Boston/ Dorchester
Justice Resource Institute, Inc.
75 Amory Street
Boston, MA 02119
Boston GLASS
Phone: 781-559-4900
Greater Boston
More Than Words
376 Moody Street
Waltham, MA 02453
Phone: 781-788-0035
Greater Boston Waltham, MA
Multicultural AIDS Coalition Boston/Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC)
31 Heath Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Phone: 617-442-1622
Greater Boston
Multicultural Wellness Center
250 Commercial St.
Worcester, MA 01608
Ceasefire Worcester
Phone: (508) 752-4665
Worcester County
New North Citizens Council
 2455 Main Street
Springfield, MA 01107
T.R.A.C.K.S & Academic Achievers
Phone: (413) 746-4885
North End, Springfield, MA
Partners for Youth with Disabilities, Inc.
95 Berkeley St #109
Boston, MA 02116
Making Healthy Connections (MHC)
Young Entrepreneurs Project (YEP)
Phone: 617-556-4075
(MHC) Springfield, MA
(YEP) Roxbury & Charlestown, MA
Phoenix Charter Academy Network
60 Canal St., 4th floor
Boston, MA 02114
Phoenix AmeriCorps Fellowship
Chelsea, MA
Project Right Inc.
320A Blue Hill Ave.
Dorchester, MA 02121
Youth Leadership Development Project
Phone: (617) 541-5454
Greater Boston
River Valley Counseling Center, Inc.
319 Beech Street
Holyoke, MA 01040
Phone: 413-540-1234
Holyoke, MA
101 Park Street
Chelsea, MA 02150
Roca's Behavioral Health Project
Phone: 617-889-5210
Greater Boston Northeast Area
Springfield Partners for Community Action
721  State Street
Springfield, MA 01109
AWAKE Trauma Response Network
(413) 263-6500
Springfield, MA
Stanley Street Treatment and Resources, Inc. (SSTAR)
386 Stanley Street
Fall River, MA 02720
BOLD Youth
Phone: 508-679-5222
Fall River, MA
Straight Ahead Ministries, Inc.
791 Main St,2nd floor
Worcester, MA 01610
Worcester Youth Re-Entry Program
Phone: (508) 753-8700
Worcester, MA
United Teen Equality Center, Inc.
35 Warren Street
Lowell, MA 01852
Phone: 978-441-9949
Lowell & Lawrence, MA
The Theater Offensive
565 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116
True Colors OUT Youth Theater
Phone: 617-661-1600
Greater Boston
Vietnamese American Civic Assocation (VACA)
42 Charles Street, Suite E
Dorchester, MA 02122
Tel: 617-288-7344
Greater Boston Vietnamese Community
Vietnamese American Initiative for Development (VietAID)
42 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02122
Greater Boston Vietnamese Community
Worcester Youth Center
326 Chandler St.
Worcester, MA 01602
Girls Going Green
Phone: (508) 791-4702
YWCA of Lowell, Inc.
97 Central Street
Lowell, MA 01852
Girls Going Green
Phone: (978) 454-7825

This information is provided by the Violence Prevention and Intervention Services within the Department of Public Health.