Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced on Tuesday that a city program for at-risk teenagers is being retooled to focus on kids as young as 11 years old. The launch comes a day after two young teenagers were arraigned for killing another teen in Dorchester.

Mayor Walsh spoke to teenagers Tuesday at the launch of a program that gives summer jobs to 600 young people. He told them about getting the call last week that 16 year old Jonathan Dos Santos had been shot and killed, and that a 14 year old and 16 year old had been arrested in the shooting.

“We’ve seen this- we’ve seen this too much," said Walsh. "And it was sad because long before some of these kids get a job, they’ve already made decisions in your life, in their life, that changes their whole life.”


Walsh said the city needs to do more to stop this kind of tragedy from happening, and he announced a new program that will work with 50 high-risk kids between the ages of 11 and 14. It will focus on kids who have a history with gangs, drugs, or trauma, or who are in families who have had run ins with the law. They’ll go to a camp and a leadership program this summer. But the program doesn’t end there, and police commissioner William Evans says that’s important.


“A lot of these kids," said Evans, "you know they’re in need of services and you just can’t give them for six weeks of the summer and think that’s going to solve their problems. You’ve got to stay with them, sort of nurture them.”


The program is actually a retooled version of an older program funded by John Hancock that worked with older teenagers. Police commissioner William Evans says there are more than 50 kids who need this kind of attention, but it’s a good start.
“You know, the outreach, the guardianship that’s with this program will hopefully
keep these kids, make them do well in school, keep them focused, despite a lot of distractions in the neighborhood.”

Once the school year begins again, the 50 kids will continue with workshops, after-school programs and ongoing case management that includes their families.   Evans says there are more than 50 kids who could use this kind of attention, but it’s a good start. The program will be run by the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, with a $175 thousand grant from John Hancock.