HCN News & Notes

Department of Public Health Awards $480,000 for Successful Teens Initiative

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced $480,000 in grant funding to six community-based organizations for the Successful Teens: Relationship, Identity, and Values Education (STRIVE) program. STRIVE is a DPH initiative that teaches youth (ages 10-15) personal responsibility, leadership skills, and healthy decision making, while preventing future youth risk behaviors.

One of the grant recipients is based in Western Mass.: Girls Inc. of the Valley in Holyoke. The others are the Boys and Girls Club of South Boston, Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, the Edinburg Center in Bedford, Girls Inc. of Lynn, and Lowell Community Health Center.

Each of the six organizations will receive $80,000 to increase youth connections to caring and trusted adults in their communities; increase protective factors for youth, such as school and community engagement; increase internal and external developmental assets, such as caring and honesty, positive peer influence, and community support; decrease risky youth behavior in later teenage years; and increase educational and economic opportunities through greater connection to community resources, increased school connectedness, and positive internal and external developmental assets.

The STRIVE program aims to reach kids early in adolescence to promote healthy choices and maximize life opportunities, instilling the skills needed to thrive in high school and beyond. Grantees are expected to focus on one of three priority populations: youth who identify as Black or Hispanic; LGBTQ+ youth, or youth with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

“It’s always been tough to be a teen, but never tougher than it is now,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh said. “Young people these days are facing countless challenges — gun violence, an overdose crisis, climate change, an education interrupted by a pandemic — and a lot of kids just aren’t equipped to handle it all. By investing in the STRIVE program, we’re giving our younger residents the skills they need to thrive.”

Public Health Commissioner Dr. Robbie Goldstein added that “the youth of Massachusetts embody so much promise. With some well-placed support, a bit of a boost, and the opportunity to engage in meaningful activities, they can thrive and shine. The investments we make in youth today are not just investments in the future of our communities and our state, they are investments in a more just and inclusive society.”