BOSTON – Massachusetts General Hospital, a founding member of the Mass General Brigham health system, today announced two local, community-based organizations have been awarded a total of $100,000 in funding from MGH’s Center for Community Health Improvement’s Youth Community Advisory Board (Y-CAB). La Colaborativa of Chelsea and Youth Guidance Boston’s BAM (Becoming a Man) and WOW (Working on Womanhood) will each receive $50,000 to advance their work in the youth-selected health priorities of economic mobility for youth and addressing community violence.
The Y-CAB, comprised of seven 9th to 12th grade high school students from the greater Boston area – including Chelsea and Revere public schools – represent passionate voices for health equity and future leadership. The entirely youth-led effort to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone in local neighborhoods engaged in a rigorous 12-week curriculum to advise on health issues with the greatest impact in their communities. Members of the Y-CAB were given full autonomy to deliberate and ultimately decide the priorities for the $100,000 funding: economic mobility and community violence. This funding is part of the MGH Community Health Impact Funds, a historic $62 investment in the health and wellbeing of the communities served by Mass General Brigham.
“My group members and I were able to see the vast similarities within the struggles of our respective communities,” said Y-CAB member Salma Khamis, a 12th grader at Revere High School. “Everyone in the group realized the constant trauma inflicted on youth due to lack of resources and support systems. We believe that the two organizations we chose are exactly what the youth needs today.”
To address economic mobility, the Y-CAB selected La Colaborativa with the funds supporting approximately 15 Chelsea young people in summer jobs. The group also expressed their hope that students would be able to work in La Colaborativa’s food pantry to further address the community’s food insecurity needs.
“We are so proud to receive this support from our partners at MGH and the Youth Community Advisory Board,” said Gladys Vega, Executive Director for La Colaborativa. “It will not only help secure paid summer jobs for our young people, but also provide them with opportunities to give back to their community, while also connecting with mentors and potential career pathways.”
With the goal of addressing community violence, the Y-CAB awarded funding to Youth Guidance Boston’s BAM/WOW programs, bolstering the organization’s enrichment activities that support the social and emotional needs of its participants.
“We say all the time - when it comes to youth development work, young people are the experts,” said Shawn Brown, Executive Director for Youth Guidance Boston. “It is particularly meaningful to have been chosen by a group of young people who recognize the critical importance of supporting the social and emotional wellbeing of all our youth in an effort to curb community violence. No one organization does this work alone, and we are deeply grateful for the support of partners and organizations like MGH.”
“The Y-CAB youth were deeply committed to this process,” said Christy Egun, Executive Director of MGH’s Center for Community Health Improvement. “While they each had strong opinions, they engaged in robust and respectful debate. Ultimately, when faced with making difficult choices, they remained true to their overarching goal of achieving the greatest impact with the funding. The Y-CAB is such an inspiration, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for these young folks.”
When asked to sum up her Y-CAB experience, Khamis said, “For me, Y-CAB meant making meaningful and impactful change through advocacy and youth leadership. Being in Y-CAB has truly pushed me to be an active leader and advocate for change no matter the community I reside in.”
About MGH CCHI
Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI) brings together people and resources to address challenging health problems and foster sustainable improvement. Focusing on the social determinants of health, CCHI seeks to eliminate health inequities based on socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity, leveraging prevention, early intervention and treatment approaches that are measurable and have proven impact. Mass General CCHI Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube
About Mass General Brigham Community Health
Mass General Brigham Community Health leads the Mass General Brigham system-wide commitment to improving the health and well-being of the communities we serve. We are dedicated to dismantling racism and other forms of inequity through a comprehensive combination of approaches involving our health care delivery system and community health programs. Mass General Brigham Community Health is expanding, integrating, and improving community health services by investing, building new capabilities, and forging stronger relationships with community-based organizations in the communities we serve—those with some of the highest rates of metabolic disease and substance use disorders in Massachusetts. Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube