Following is a press release from the Middlesex District Attorney's Office:
In an effort to aid violence and drug prevention efforts of youth organizations in Middlesex County and provide youth with positive alternatives to crime, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone has donated more than $100,000 of drug forfeiture funds to 11 community programs, marking the second year of what had become an annual initiative for the District Attorney.
"These funds will make a significant difference in our communities by providing youth with positive, resourceful alternatives this summer,” said Leone in a press release. “Whether it is funding summer jobs, providing transportation for kids who would otherwise not have access to go to summer camp, or establishing college preparedness programs for at-risk youth, these monies are going to truly remarkable causes.”
Under Massachusetts Law, the District Attorney's office is authorized to expend monies and proceeds received by way of drug forfeiture orders for the purposes of drug rehabilitation, drug education, and other anti-drug or neighborhood crime watch programs which further law enforcement purposes.
Previously, Leone expended this type of funding by supporting Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, Inc, a non-profit organization which provides prevention and intervention resources and training to Middlesex school districts and communities.
Local programs awarded:
Wayside Youth & Family Support Network’s Tempo Program: Through a donation of $12,399, Leone would fund approximately 8 at-risk young adults (17-24 years of age) with an internship coupled with work readiness and follow-up job coaching support provided by a Transition Facilitator. In addition to working to match employers with potential young adult workers, the Tempo program provides a job readiness and job support system to move interns into permanent positions while also providing important job skills to increase the rate of success for retaining these jobs.
Summer Camp at Boys & Girls Club of Framingham: $10,000 will be donated for scholarships for 9 low income, at-risk youth from the Framingham area, ages 6 to 16, to attend a summer camp at the Club. The camp serves 100 kids and this donation will have a significant impact on the number of kids the Club can serve.
School Year Transportation Funding for Boys & Girls Club of Framingham: $10,000 will allow the Boys & Girls Club to expand its ability to provide after school pick-up transportation from school to the Boys & Girls Club for after school programming for the first five months of the 2012-2013 school year. Currently, while the Boys & Girls Club has room in the club’s program, they are unable to reach kids at a number of schools without these funds. Leone’s funding of this program last year enabled 72 additional children to attend after school programs at the Boys & Girls Clubhouse who otherwise would not have been able to participate.
Framingham High School Afternoon Transportation Vouchers: Due to the district’s cancellation of their late bus service, a donation of $1,000 allows high school students without a transportation option home to stay after school for academic assistance, after school activities and for team sports. Without these vouchers, students without transportation home would have been forced to leave school at dismissal time rather than participate in these after-hours programs.
MetroWest YMCA High Flight Program: The High Flight Program was developed in response to a community need for after school, weekend, and summer positive programming for at-risk teens. The program focuses on developing self-confidence, challenging youth to succeed, understanding consequences, and breaking down walls amongst youth. Through a $10,000 donation, five area youth will be able to attend the program this summer.
The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office has a proud tradition of protecting and serving the people of Middlesex County through tough, fair prosecutions and proactive, progressive prevention and intervention efforts. The mission of the Office of the Middlesex District Attorney is to protect and serve the public, fight for victims, and speak for those who otherwise would have no voice.
District Attorney Gerry Leone was elected in November of 2006 and took office in January 2007. Within four years, he has implemented a number of new initiatives designed to better protect and serve the people of Middlesex County.
In 2007, Leone established the office’s first Cyber Protection Program, forming a team of prosecutors and investigators specifically focused on the protection of children and other citizens from the predatory dangers of the Internet.
A career prosecutor with a record of implementing innovative school safety programs, Leone has also launched an initiative to more comprehensively expand youth prevention and intervention efforts and programs into the middle schools, vocational schools, and to the 20 colleges and universities of Middlesex County.
Leone is also the Chair of Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, Inc. Today, in collaboration with the District Attorney's Office, over 60 Middlesex school districts are committed to examining the pressing social, legal, and health-related issues and solutions that face schools and communities. Through the current and future activities of MPY, educators, parents, and students can regularly engage in collaborative trainings with law enforcement, social services, and community-based organizations as well as share the latest information and resources. Such interactions provide the foundation for creating solution-oriented, community-based, multi-disciplinary approaches to addressing youth violence, substance abuse, child abuse and neglect, and harassment across Middlesex County.
Through the partnership with MPY, DA Leone hosts an annual public service announcement contest, first initiated in 2009, in an effort to spark a positive dialogue and encourage teens to speak out about important issues affecting youth. Students enrolled in high schools and middle schools in Middlesex County are asked to create and produce their own 30 to 60 second PSA on a suggested topic and the winner is selected by their peers. This year’s topic focused on the importance of promoting healthy substance free relationships.
The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and AT&T partnered to launch the first “It Can Wait” campaign in Massachusetts. The program, which is sponsored by the MDAO and Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, Inc., in collaboration with AT&T, is an anti-texting educational presentation which includes a powerful documentary, produced by AT&T, that features stories from individuals whose lives have been forever altered by texting while driving.
Lastly, Leone addresses students in high schools throughout Middlesex County about the dangers of impaired driving, focusing on the spring. Stating that car crashes nationally are the number one killer of high school-aged students, Leone urges students to make good decisions about teenage alcohol and drug use, and impaired driving, especially during the prom and graduation season when the incidents of car crashes are typically highest.
In collaboration with Middlesex County School Superintendents, Leone also sends letters home to every parent and caretaker of 12th graders in Middlesex County. The letter outlines the troubling statistics regarding teenage drinking and driving and offers parents a number of proactive steps that they can take to help prevent their children and others from getting behind the wheel while impaired or driving with impaired drivers.
Middlesex County is the largest county in Massachusetts and one of the largest counties in the country with 54 towns and cities and 20 colleges in urban, suburban, and rural areas, comprising over one quarter of the population of Massachusetts.
The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office has offices throughout the county, including communities such as Ayer, Cambridge, Concord, Framingham, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Natick, Newton, Somerville, Waltham and Woburn.