D.A. Leone Donates Over $100,000 In Forfeiture Funds To Community Programs

For Immediate Release June 28, 2011
Contact: MaryBeth Long
781-897-8325

WOBURN - In an effort to aid the 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 over $100,000 of drug forfeiture funds to six community programs, marking the first year of what will be an annual initiative for the District Attorney.

“These programs are positive, resourceful alternatives for our youth and I’m delighted to be working with these organizations,” District Attorney Leone said. “Whether it is funding summer jobs, providing transportation for kids who would otherwise not have access to go to summer camp, or sponsoring tomorrow’s leaders to attend a drug prevention forum, these monies are going to truly remarkable causes and I’m pleased to announce this new initiative today.”

Under Massachusetts General Law c. 94C, § 47(d), the MDAO 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, DA Leone expended this type of funding by supporting Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, Inc (MPY), a non-profit organization which provides prevention and intervention resources and training to Middlesex school districts and communities.  This year, through this sponsorship initiative, the MDAO seeks to diversify the dissemination of these funds by focusing on partnering with local communities in need and non-profit organizations in Middlesex County, in addition to MPY, to foster drug education and anti-drug programs, along with neighborhood crime prevention initiatives, which collectively support the crime intervention and prevention goals of the MDAO.  As part of this initiative, the MDAO intends to make available funds through a discretionary grant process that will provide monetary support for the important community-based efforts operated by projects that share these goals. The six organizations below are the first to receive these funds and future funds will be awarded through an application process, which will soon be available through the District Attorney’s website.

Programs Involved

2011 Lowell Summer Jobs Program for At-Risk Youth

$20,000 will be donated to the Greater Lowell Workforce Investment Board to fund summer jobs for 16 at-risk youth in Lowell.  The program will provide opportunities for the youths to build job readiness skills, gain work experience, provide pre-employment training, and engage disadvantaged youth with the goal of averting risky behavior.

July Conference for Members of Lowell Roundtable on Substance Abuse Prevention

Through this $10,400 donation, DA Leone will sponsor six youth and two adult chaperones from the Lowell Community Health Center Teen Coalition under the Lowell Roundtable on Substance Abuse Prevention to attend the 2011 Mid-Year Training Institute, which is hosted by the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America. The four day national event will take place in July in Anaheim, California and is part of the National Youth Leadership Initiative which works with youths and adults to educate them on how to help community coalitions be more effective in producing community change. The training also works with youths and their adult coaches to develop an action plan that clearly defines strategies that young leaders can carry out to address the problems and goals the coalition is striving to achieve, with an emphasis on violence and drug abuse prevention.  DA Leone will meet with the teens at the LCHC Teen Coalition on July 12 at 3:30pm for a send-off prior to their departure to the training.

“The Lowell Roundtable on Substance Abuse Prevention and the LCHC Teen Coalition youth and adults are so thankful to the DA and his offices’ commitment to bettering our community and providing this amazing opportunity for the youth of Lowell, and we can not thank DA Leone enough,” said Linda Sou, Director of LCHC Teen Coalition.

Wayside Youth & Family Support Network’s Tempo Program

Through this $20,000 donation, DA Leone would fund approximately 14 young, at-risk young adults (17-24 years of age) with an internship tied to a potential offer of employment coupled with a 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 10 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 would have a significant impact on the number they can serve.

School Year Transportation Funding for Boys & Girls Club of Framingham 

$20,000 would 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 entire school year 2011-2012.  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.  This funding would permit the after school program to grow from 185 youths to 240-250 youths.

Fran Hurley, President of the Boys and Girls Clubs of MetroWest, said about both donations to the Boys and Girls Club, “We would like to sincerely thank District Attorney Leone and his office for their great partnership in funding our summer camp and our transportation programs at our Clubhouse in Framingham.  This funding will enable us to provide summer camp scholarships to deserving youth in Framingham and to add an additional bus route and serve more children during the school year. This helps us in Framingham deliver on our core mission to enhance the development of children and to prepare young adults to be responsible and productive members of the community.”

Metro South / West Regional Employment Board 

The donation of $20,000 would fund summer employment for approximately 8 - 10 at risk youth for up to 6 weeks. Selected youth will receive pre-employment preparation training which covers appropriate work behavior, including attendance, punctuality, conduct, and safety training. Appropriate assessment tools will be used to maximize efforts to align youth with worksite placements that align with the youth’s knowledge and skill-set.

About the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office

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, DA 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.

DA 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.

Most recently, 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, DA 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, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry 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.

For more information, please visit http://middlesexda.com/.

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