Mayor Spotlights SSYP Teen Organizing

In his State Of The City address last night, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh unveiled plans to to renovate Ramsay Park, thanks to the efforts of SSYP's teen organizers. The Park is one of the few green spaces in the Lenox neighborhood, which is home to one of our year-round program sites. Despite its potential to be a family-friendly recreation space, it has long been an epicenter of drug use and violence in the neighborhood. SSYP's teen organizers came together last winter to plan the park's transformation as part of the B-PEACE for Jorge anti-violence initiative. (Read the Boston Herald Article, which includes video footage, here.) 

The teens' efforts spurred the formation of a coalition, Friends of Ramsay Park, that fosters greater collaboration between community organizations. Teen organizers led cleanup days, painted murals, planted bulbs, planned summer evening athletic programming and created family events. Their efforts to make the six acres safer have engaged city and law enforcement officials in dialogues about larger neighborhood issues including gang activity, homelessness, addiction, and mistrust of law enforcement. Noting that he "grew up in his neighborhood's parks" the Mayor said he is committed to improving parks throughout the city.

SSYP's Lenox Neighborhood Organizer, Sarah O'Connor who attended the Mayor's speech along with teen organizers and Director of Youth Programs, Liz Steinhauser commented, "We are thrilled that Ramsay Park is getting the kind of resources and attention from the city that the neighborhood deserves! This has been a community-wide effort that would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of many individuals and organizations including (but not limited to) Vibrant Boston, Northeastern University, Washington Gateway Main Streets, D-4 of the Boston Police Department, the Church of St. Augustine and St. Martin and the City of Boston Department of Youth Engagement and Employment. Thanks again to everyone for being part of this exciting new chapter in the story of Ramsay Park." 

To find out how to get involved, please contact  Sarah O'Connor.  Read press coverage:




B-PEACE Teen Organizers part of neighborhood peace walk

OCTOBER 29, 2015 11:23 AM

B-PEACE for Jorge teen organizers joined about 30 people from local churches (including many clergy), police officers, and community members in front of Grant A.M.E. Church for a neighborhood walk for peace to end to street violence. The route crossed Washington Street and wound through Ramsay Park, where B-PEACE teen organizers have been involved in a campaign to increase neighborhood safety.  “I was proud to walk through Ramsay Park, because people were noticing the art we had created over the summer. The point of the mural and the tiles was to make people feel safer in Ramsay Park.” said B-PEACE teen organizer Tahnaree Evans.

Law enforcement officers and members of the clergy introduced themselves to residents in the Lenox-Camden housing development and lead prayers for peace and an end to violence in the neighborhood. "These walks bring everyone together," said neighborhood resident and B-PEACE organizer Jhanel Potts. "A lot of people feel some type of way about the cops. Cops were there and nothing bad happened, no one got arrested, so people felt more like they could trust cops. And get the sense that not all cops are bad and we can trust some of them." B-PEACE organizer Dominick Jackson agreed, "It was awesome to see people I haven't seen in a long time and to see that lots of people I know care about my neighborhood. And that we were talking about the problem of violence in the community and people had to listen."

Clergy and law enforcement are teaming up to organize a series of walks in neighborhoods throughout the city in response to the uptick in violence this summer, with the goal of strengthening community-police relationships so everyone can be on the team working to reduce neighborhood violence.

POSTED BY the Teen Community Organizing Team