The Boston Youth Network is a free after-school program that has served East Boston’s at-risk youth for the past 21 years. The Youth Network provides after school activities for approximately 40 middle school and high school students who live or attend school in East Boston.

Approximately 80% of participants are low-income and 80% are young people of color, largely newly-immigrated Latinos. Participants come from different cultural backgrounds including Colombian, Brazilian, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Salvadorian, Mexican, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Brazilian, etc.

The program staff consists of a full time program director, a part time athletic coordinator, and a part time youth worker. Volunteers, interns, and work-study students are also a valuable asset to our program. The program has several staff members and volunteers that are fluent in English and Spanish.

The goal of the Youth Network is to give students the skills they need to succeed academically and in life. The Youth Network helps to improve attitudes toward school, increase academic achievement, improve knowledge of risk factors and prevention activities and build participants self-esteem.

Weekly activities include daily homework assistance, arts and crafts, dance & performance, cooking, gym, computers, yearbook production, as well as prevention workshops involving topics such as teen pregnancy, gang violence, domestic violence, date rape, etc.

Youth Network members also enjoy outdoor games, movies and field trips. The Youth Network’s past field trips include Spooky World, Roller world, Laser Quest, Fright Fest, Boston Paintball, Six Flags, Basketball Museum, movies in Boston, skating at Frog Pond, visits to many local museums and parks, bowling, and Dave & Busters.

Participants are motivated to participate in the various activities, to complete their homework everyday, and to bring up their grades because many of the field trips require that members have good attendance, daily homework credit, and improved grades. Students who achieve one or more A’s in each grading period are rewarded with a special trip.  Field trips also include visits to colleges and universities in the area and beyond.

For the most recently completed school year, 98% of program participants stayed in school and 90% improved by one letter grade in math, language arts or science.

The Youth Network monitors participants’ attendance, academic achievement and behavior. Program staff meets regularly with school officials, teachers, and parents to assess the students’ development in school and at home. When necessary, referrals are made for students to receive academic help or counseling.

You can now visit the BYN program at their Facebook page!