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Summer Work: ‘B Safe’ Summer Program Employing 10,000 Boston Teens

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420x316-grad-blake1 Mary Blake
Mary Blake is an award-winning reporter and anchor who joined WBZ News...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Mayor Tom Menino called it a big hill to climb. Earlier this week, the city reached the summit.

Ten thousand Boston teens now have jobs for the summer.

In Part 3 her series “Summer Work,” WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mary Blake looks at Boston’s ambitious program for inner city kids:

Eighteen-year-old Chatelle Maddrey of Boston says dance is her passion. This summer, she’s getting paid to teach her favorite style of dance, which is hip-hop. She is employed with the “B Safe” Summer Program, and is glad she landed the job.

“You have to know some people, ‘cuz my friends told me about this job and if they didn’t tell me about it, well, I live around the corner from St. Stephens and I didn’t even know what St. Stephens was,” Maddrey exclaims.

St. Stephens Episcopal Church on Shawmut Avenue is one of the locations for the B Safe Program. B Safe is a learning enrichment camp that operates in six different locations, serving roughly 400 youngsters and employing 83 teens.

Yamilet Vermenton is one of the 83. She’s 16 years old and says she was excited when she found out she had a job this summer.

“I just felt like I”m gonna be doing something for the summer instead of just doing nothing. I’ll be interacting with kids and I’m gonna be occupied,” she says.

James Eddy manages the B Safe program and says the competition was tough.

“We had well over 100 applicants who came in. There is definitely a need for youth jobs,” Eddy says.

Eddy confides the hardest part of his job was turning kids away.

“It took me awhile to get over that fact because, for me, I’m thinking not only am I taking away a job, but I’m taking away an opportunity for this teen to have something to do over the summer,” Eddy says.

The private industry segment of the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program is equally competitive.

Sixteen-year-old Daniel Qiu, who lives in Chinatown, knew that when he applied at Tufts Medical Center. Tufts has hired 40 Boston students this summer as interns and there were twice as many qualified candidates.

“I was pretty excited, and I just couldn’t wait for the summer to start,” Qiu recalls when asked about his reaction to being selected.

His supervisor, Mary Frattaroli, Practice Manager of Pediatric Cardiology, says she’s thrilled to have Qiu working for her.

“He will always come in and ask, what more can I do, just amazing, if I had a job for him, I’d hire him tomorrow,” she says.

Qiu has one complaint about his experience so far. He wants to be working more.

“I only work four hours a day,” he says.

When asked about the thrill of a paycheck, Qiu says it’s not the most important part of his summer.

“My mom always told me the experience I’m getting here and the connections I’m making is worth a lot more than the money,” Qiu says.

Mary Blake’s series, Summer Work, can be heard all this week on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

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