Last month, REEP Youth Organizers and REEP students from Odyssey High School joined over 1,000 young people to march from Boston City Hall to the State House asking legislators to restore budget cuts to youth summer jobs and programming.
State budget cuts of 50 percent to youth jobs in 2009 will hit employment programs hard this summer. During a recession, fewer opportunities are available to youth, and young people need access to jobs more than ever to build skills, support families and stop violence on the streets.
At City Hall, a delegation of youth delivered a thank you card to Mayor Menino for maintaining the same level of summer funding as last year, and requested meetings with him and his staff. Mayor Menino has pledged not to make fresh cuts to the city’s summer jobs funding, which has yet to recover from major cutbacks in 2002 and 2003.
At the State House, REEP Youth met with representatives from Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and Senator Jack Hart's offices to ask them to sponsor amendments to restore youth jobs funding. The effort was part of dozens of legislator visits made by youth from across the state. Young people also dropped off hundreds of postcards to Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, signed by youth looking for work.
In a major campaign victory, students enrolled in a REEP class at Odyssey High School held a follow-up meeting with Senator Hart on May 7, and convinced him to write and sponsor a budget amendment to restore one source of summer jobs funding to $8 million.
Unfortunately, both the House and Senate budget failed to restore any of the cuts. We encourage you to call your senator and urge them to consider co-sponsoring an amendment to restore funding for the "Youth Works" line item (#7002-0012) to $8 million.
If you'd like to help on the federal level, please call Senator Scott Brown at (202) 224-4543 and express your disappointment that he voted "No" against funding nearly 7,000 youth jobs on March 19. Ask him to vote "Yes" on the upcoming US Senate Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act that would bring approximately 3,000 teen jobs to Massachusetts this summer. For more information, contact Dave at (617) 442-3343 x225.