Kat's Youth Action Plan
This issue is near and dear to my heart. I began my plea to the city to engage our youth at age 17 (16 years ago). I volunteered at the Haverhill Youth Center (when we had one) and had high hopes of seeing it develop into a multifaceted, safe space for our youth. I was disappointed to see it dissolve.
Through my nonprofit and the collaborative youth engagement team I have been doing research, outreach through the Shannon Grant and talking with local youth, teachers, youth serving groups, City officials, the Juvenile court, and HPD to build on best practices, issues and needs. I have reached out to our Mayor in hopes of extending this effort to the city government level as a unified response from the City of Haverhill.
In my research I came across the Council on Youth Needs, which has long been inactive. There has been many events that warrant the need for this plan, however; I will list three recent events as an example:
1) After a Haverhill High school football game (where Haverhill won) there was a 30+ youth fight near Riverside park that erupted between Haverhil and the opposing team. In the words of a new freshman student "it was like out of a movie". HPD arrived and diffused the situation.
2) The contained arson attempt, and the subsequent Steven's St. mill building fire were a wake up call that our youth gang involvement is alive and shifting.
3) The "airgun" and knife that were brought into the J.G. Whittier school, and the subsequent arrest of a middle school student.
The time to act cannot wait!
Below please find my Youth Action Plan for the city of Haverhill.