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In the News: Roxbury Youthworks

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In the News: Roxbury Youthworks
Mia Alvarado (Photo: Courtesy of Mia Alvarado)

Roxbury Youthworks executive director Mia Alvarado announced the youth development agency will receive a $100,000 grant from the Cummings Foundation. Roxbury Youthworks, Inc. (RYI) is one of 100 local nonprofits to be awarded with the grant, and was chosen from a total of 549 applicants.

RYI is a community-based non-profit organization with a mission to help youth caught in cycles of poverty, victimization and violence to transition successfully to adulthood. Founded in 1981 by Judge Julian Houston, RYI first started to help decrease recidivism among young men and women from the Roxbury District Court. Today the organization serves youth up to 22 years of age in Boston’s juvenile justice or child welfare system with innovative supportive programs.

Representing RYI, Alvarado will join approximately 300 other guests at a reception at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn to celebrate the $10 million infusion into Greater Boston’s nonprofit sector.

“With this very generous grant from Cummings Foundation, we are able to expand our Gaining Independence For Tomorrow (GIFT) program to include girls that have aged out of DCF [Department of Children and Families] care, yet still need their life coach, and to girls referred by Probation, so they can avoid being locked up,” said Alvarado. “We’re incredibly grateful for the Cummings Foundation’s support of our work.”

Since 2008, GIFT has served approximately 400 young women that are at high risk or are known victims of commercial sexual exploitation. These girls are between the ages of 11-21 and are involved with the Department of Children and Families. Through intensive individual mentoring, weekly psychosocial support groups, enrichment activities and leadership opportunities, seven life coaches aid the girls in their recovery from exploitation, or work to prevent them from entering an exploitive relationship.

This year’s grant recipients represent a variety of causes, including homelessness prevention and affordable housing, education, violence prevention and food insecurity. The complete list of 100 grant winners is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org. Most of the grants will be paid over two to five years.