Cambridge, Massachusetts

 

  • Community name: Cambridge
  • Community or city website    
  • Population: 105,162
  • Graduation rate: 92.3%
  • Youth poverty rate: 17.5% 

Overview

Cambridge, a five-time 100 Best Communities for Young People winner, continues to be recognized for its efforts to make young people a priority. Cambridge has consistently dedicated one-third of its budget to serving youth and families which allows the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP) to hire half of all 14–18 year olds in Cambridge. The Kid’s Council, comprising senior elected officials, agency directors, parents and youth, secures funding for programs like MSYEP and develops policy recommendations and programs to improve the quality of life for youth and families. Youth also have a voice in the Neighborhood Service Project where they are encouraged to identify a problem in the community, such as bullying, and develop a creative solution. Recently, a group of teens went to the State House to meet the authors of anti-bullying legislation and then developed short vignettes for Facebook on how to respond to bullies. Cambridge also devotes resources to its youngest members through Baby University. Made possible by a collaboration between the Harlem Children Zone’s Baby College and the Housing Authority, Baby University helps participants, especially new fathers, improve their parenting skills.

Community Programs

  • Since Cambridge has consistently dedicated one-third of its city budget to serving youth and families, the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP) hires half of all 14–18 year olds in Cambridge.
  • The Kid’s Council , comprised of senior elected officials, agency directors, parents and youth, develops policy recommendations and programs to improve the quality of life for youth and families in Cambridge.
  • Baby University, a program made possible through the collaboration of Harlem Children Zone’s Baby College and the Housing Authority, has helped participants, especially new fathers, improve their parenting skills.
  • Healthy Living Cambridge Kids uses resources through grants and community involvement to improve school food, enhance the physical education curriculum and further develop school wellness policies.
  • The Neighborhood Service Project (NSP) gives teens the opportunity to identify a need or problem in the community, such as bullying, and design a creative solution.

Youth Voices

Around Cambridge, youth centers and other teen organizations such as The Russell Youth Center, The Gately Youth Center, Frisoli, the Moore and Area IV all come together to make safe environment for the teens to attend on a daily basis.

—Anonymous

In the city of Cambridge, being a close community is really important, and the youth centers play a huge role in that. During late spring and early summer, the Frisoli Youth Center holds an event called "Building Bridges" which allows the teens, police, and fire department to have a friendly competition in various sports. This event really helps participants because it forms a relationship with the departments of Cambridge.

—Anonymous