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Safety Starts Park to Park

July 17, 2017

LFDOn July 16th, Lawrence Family Development and the Mayor's Office launched the next phase of the CIty's Community Safety plan. The inaugural "pop up party" was held at Dr. Nina Scarpito park on Brook Street. About eighty people dropped by the park between 1 and 4 on Sunday for a cookout and park games. Lawrence Family Development’s food service staff grilled hotdogs and hamburgers while members of the SISU Youth Team ran the park games. Lawrence Family Development set up mini-golf, ring toss, bean bag toss, and big block Jenga stations for the kids; while running a 3 on 3 basketball tournament for the local teenagers. Members of the Lawrence Fire DJ ChrisDepartment brought a ladder truck to the park for the kids to climb on, and took some time to shoot hoops with tournament players in between games. DJ Chris spun Latin and urban music throughout the day, while attendees beat the heat with water balloons. 

Sunday’s party was the first of six, supported through emergency funding proposed by the Mayor and passed by the City Council in April. In addition to the parties, the funding supports adding three additional street outreach workers to the SISU street outreach team; diana Facepainttwo of those street outreach workers were on hand Sunday to help with the party. “I grew up in this City and hung out in these parks as a kid. I got in trouble in these same parks as a young man. Because of this I am grateful to be working with the SISU team and the City to keep other young people from making some of the same mistakes I made.” said one of the new outreach workers, Angel Vasquez. 

During the week prior to the party, members of the Lawrence Family Development SISU landscaping team spent several days cleaning up the park, picking up trash, and mowing the lawns. 

Additional pictures.
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College for a Day

image1On May 3, 2017, participants in the SISU program had the opportunity to spend some time at the Northern Essex Community College (NECC) “College for a Day” program. Participants were given a tour of the Lawrence Campus and were able to sit in on a class. 

Experiences like the “College for a Day” program are instrumental to LFD’s goal of changing the dialogue around college. Because of this program, SISU participants who had never thought of going to college have realized that it is very real opportunity. 

"This is my first time in this place, I can't believe no one has ever believed in me enough to bring me here and show me this" C.R. 

Another participant who had never dreamed of going to college took the initiative to sign up for classes after sitting in a psychology class. 

Thanks to NECC and the College for a Day program, what had once seemed beyond their reach, has now become a very reachable goal. 

Special thanks to the SISU Transition Specialist, Allishah Mohammed, for making this day happe
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From Brian's Perspective: Part 1 - The Beginning

BrianBrian is 20 year old participant of the Lawrence Youth Team. Brian has been involved with the gang life throughout his teens and has been with the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative for 5 years. During that time, he has completed high school, been in and out of lock up, and become a father. Over the next several months, Brian will be using his pen as a platform to share a perspective rarely published.

"The purpose of my blog is to compile stories from the lives of my LYT brothers…from beginning to now. Our stories though somewhat different, all connect and align with change in one way….our lives have changed through the Lawrence Youth Team!


The positive forces in our lives are the people I keep around…like my boss and O. They see us youth members as family and like their own. As soon as they see us about to take the wrong path, they try to lead us to take the right path with knowledge and good advice. I remember when I first came to LYT – I truly didn’t care about anything and here I am now, five years later as a working man and a great father – but still a work in progress.


Change came my way when I was 15 years old, when I dropped out of high school. I was always in the streets…up to no good…fighting, stealing everything you can name…I did….never going home, putting my mom through stress…she was worried whether I was coming home or not. I had that thought in my head that I didn’t care what happens to me, because I was young minded and hard headed…didn’t listen at all, until I got arrested and it went downhill!


Growing up in Lawrence, has not been an easy road for me. At the age of eleven I got taken away from my parents because of an unstable home environment – it was at that point, my entire life changed. For the next 3 years, I was in and out of jail. Having to practically raise myself throughout my entire childhood, life has not been easy for me. Struggles and hardships seemed endless…that was until a pivotal moment in my life where the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative or Lawrence Youth Team (LYT) saved me….
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Closed Mouths Don’t Get Fed

On Thursday March 30, 2017, youth, youth advocates,street outreach workers, law enforcement, and law makers gathered at the Massachusetts State House in Boston to advocate for continued funding of the Shannon Grant and Safe and Successful Youth Initiative programs. These grants support intervention and prevention focused youth programs in Cities across the state and are integral pieces in community efforts to address issues of youth violence. 

Members of Lawrence Family Development's SISU program (Lawrence Youth Team and YouthBuild Lawrence) joined the youth voices echoing throughout the State House's Great Hall and testifying to their legislators about the importance of these proven programs. 

LYT member, Christian Acosta was one of two youth voices chosen to share his story during the event. 

"Good Morning State Officials,Honorable Guests, Mentors and Peers: 

CA speechMy name is Christian Acosta and I am proudly from Lawrence MA. 

Growing up in Lawrence, has not been an easy road for me. At the age of eleven, I got taken away from my parents because of an unstable home environment – it was at that point my entire life changed. For the next 3 years, I was in and out of jail. Having to practically raise myself throughout my entire childhood, life has not been easy for me. Struggles and hardships seemed endless….that was until a pivotal moment in my life where the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative or Lawrence Youth Team saved me. 

I was first introduced to LYT by the then educational liaison at Department of Youth Services and the LYT Program Manager. I did not think that LYT could help me or change my way of thinking. Being reliant on myself for so long, I was struggling outside of the program- selling drugs, engaging in harmful behavior….I was losing myself. I remember the exact day I went to program, I had no money, no food – the only people I could think of at that one moment of desperation was the staff at LYT. They put me straight to work and taught me the tough lesson, 

'Closed mouths don’t get fed..' 

This is actually a quote we use a lot during our time at LYT. I worked on improving myself and fast forward five years later, I am standing here before you, a changed man. 

What LYT offers me is a family – our program manager is like my older brother, my case manager is like an aunt, street workers are like my old, wise uncles and LYT youth are my brothers. During my time in the program I was able to gain opportunities in construction, demolition, and landscaping. One of the greatest achievements of my life has been gaining entry into college, where I am currently studying Psychology. I also received a full time job with  Lawrence Family Development  where I hold the position of Construction Assistant Trainer at the SISU Center– it is with great pride that I am able to mentor and motivate my Lawrence brothers and sisters every day. 

I just want to end by stating that in Lawrence, there was no teen center for youth such as myself for a number of years. I remember LYT staff working out of their cars, they had no offices…they worked truly from their hearts. Now I am happy to state that Lawrence Family Development has taken the initiative to form a comprehensive youth system that will help youth throughout our city better themselves"

In February of 2017, Christian was hired as a full time employee by Lawrence Family Development to fill the role of Carpentry Trainer. Christian is replacing long time YouthBuild Lawrence staff member Domingo Corona. Domingo was with YouthBuild Lawernce for 15 years and similar to Christian, started at the organization as a program participant. Originally a YouthBuild Lawrence participant, Domingo was hired full time as a Carpentry Trainer because of his commitment to his family, his community, and the mission of YouthBuild. 

We know that Christian will do himself, his community, his LYT family, and Lawrence Family Development proud and will continue to pave the way Domingo started, 15 years ago, for other participants in our SISU program.  
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Financial Literacy

Enterprise Logo

Logo transparent LFDinc2
October 19, 2016

Over the next several months, Lawrence Family Development will be partnering with Enterprise Bank to offer a series of financial literacy seminars. The seminars are part of the FDIC Money Smart program and will be presented in both English and Spanish. The seminars will be presented Enterprise Bank’s Lawrence branch manager, Jesús Suriel.

Enterprise and LFD will be presenting the following topics:

Introduction to Bank Services and Checking Accounts. -
October 24, 2016 at 9:30 am and 6:00 pm
Introduction to Borrowing and Credit -
November 14, 2016 at 9:30 am and 6:00 pm
Understanding Credit Cards -
December 19, 2016 at 9:30 am and 6:00 pm
Setting Financial Goals - January 23, 2017 at 9:30 am and 6:00 pm
Paying for College and Cars - February 20, 2017 at 9:30 am and 6:00 pm
The Importance of Saving;
Home Ownership vs. Renting - March 20, 2017 at 9:30 am and 6:00 pm
Identity Theft -
April 17, 2017 at 9:30 am and 6:00 pm

All of the Seminars will be held at the Lawrence Family Development Maria Quintana Family Center, 404 Haverhill Street in Lawrence. The events are free and open to the public and snacks will be provided. Space is limited. Please arrrive early and/or RSVP to Nelly Lopez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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College Bound

August 1, 2016

YB NECCCycle 21 is looking like a historic year for YouthBuild Lawrence in many ways. One of those, which we are incredibly proud of is, the highest number of students pursuing dual enrollment in college and YouthBuild. This year, five of our young women are enrolled in the Northern Essex Community College’s Bridge Program. The Bridge program is a two week introduction to college classes, campus life and how to utilize all of the colleges’ many resources. The Bridge Program is sponsored by the Student Success Center for incoming Latino(a) college students and is designed to help ease students’ adjustment to college life and build a foundation for academic success. 

The partnership between YouthBuild Lawrence and NECC ensures that the students will achieve their goals of graduating college to pursue the career of their dreams. The students were encouraged by YouthBuild Lawrence’s Coordinator of Placement and Career Services, Allishah Mohammed.

YouthBuild studentparticipants from left to right, Gloria Martinez, Diana Rivera, Emerald Vasquez, Alonda Mercedes, and Karina Gabin.
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SISU = Success

June 23, 2016

PA2Yesterday was a milestone for YouthBuild Lawrence and the Lawrence Youth Team. An unforgettable experience happened as Project Adventure (PA) brought together two different groups of young people, each with unique backgrounds, to work as one team with one goal. A great team of staff not only encouraged each participant but also kept them engaged and motivated when they didn't want to participate. 

“Coming together as one and overcoming different obstacles is what The SISU center is all about. I'm sure some people were skeptical about how it would go, but if we had to pick one word for today it would have to be success.”

All of the young people participated in one way or another. Some stayed within their comfort zone while others were more open, yet they all took something with them. There is no doubt in my mind. The SISU Center is about resiliency, teamwork, and dedication, all of which were displayed by the participating young people and staff. We have no doubt that this is the beginning of great things!

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It Takes a Team

June 10, 2016

LYTGrad“Today we celebrate the HI-Set graduation of Eric Ubilez and Carlos Rodriguez.” On Thursday June 9th, two young men in the Lawrence SSYI Program were able to achieve their GED (General Education Diploma). One of them actually completed the GED while in DYS custody. These young men have not had it easy and still continue to learn from their mistakes. Despite the odds they made a choice to stick with the program and get their diplomas and for that we honor them. 

This achievement has been a team effort, first with the young men and then the partnership of DYS and the Lawrence Youth Team. We believe that while it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a team to help them reach their dreams. It was a great satisfaction to see the their smiles as they looked at their friends, families, and case workers who never gave up on them, even when everyone else did.
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Playhouse Palooza

April 26, 2016

PlayhouseFor the past several months, YouthBuild Lawrence Cohort 21 students have been building houses in Lawrence. After completing work on 165 West Street, the program moved on to another project... as part of “Playhouse Palooza”.

CASA Palozoo PlayhouseBetween April 15-24, the Essex County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) hosted their second annual “Playhouse Palooza” at the Northshore Mall in Peabody. Raffle tickets, one for $5 and five for $20, were sold to win four one-of-a-kind playhouses constructed and donated by Youth Build Lawrence, as well as North Shore CDC Youth Build, The Knights of Columbus Masconomo Council, and Brossi Realty of Northbridge. The playhouses were on display in the Macy’s court, and the drawing was held on April 24.

After completing the donated Playhouse, the YouthBuild Lawrence Construction team has continued working with the students to build several additional playhouses. This project provides excellent training for YouthBuild Lawrence's next big project at 213 Jackson Street in Lawrence. Good breaking on the Jackson Street project is tentatively scheduled to occur in early May of 2016. 

YBKids Playhouse
For more information on the Playhouse project, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

April 11, 2016

bridgeFor the past several weeks, Lawrence Youth Team members have had a very unique opportunity. Through a partnership with the Essex Art Center, they have been learning to tell their stories using photography as a medium. In addition to learning the proper techniques to taking the perfect picture, they are also learning to properly use a digital camera and digital photo editing software. 

Too often urban communities, like Lawrence, and the young people who inhabit them are defined by the media, pop culture, and the selfie/Instagram fad. What is rarely shown or understood is how the streets, buildings and residents are seen through the eyes of young people. Inspired by the Kids with Cameras Project, our hope is that the young men involved with the Lawrence Youth Team and the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative will create a dialogue and provide a view of their world through their eyes.Tammy Cancel, an LYT Case Manager, summarized the program thus far; "the guys were able to sit still and look at their city through camera lens and tell each other stories that impacted their lives and what Lawrence means to them." es. 

Joseph photogThe program is being taught by Dan Williams, an Ohio University Professor Emeritus. Mr. Williams is a native of Brooklyn, NY and a graduate of Brooklyn College and the University of Oregon’s Photography Graduate program.  Mr. Williams is no stranger to urban art projects. His own work often focuses on social situations of mostly African-Americans.He has been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian, Princeton Museum of Art and the University of Kansas Spencer Museum of Art.

                                                                                                                                                                                 Mr. Williams teachers Joseph Rodriguez some techniques
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SSYI Safety Day on the Hill

March 31, 2016

SafetyontheHillDayOn March 30th the Lawrence Youth Team attended the Safe & Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI)  Safety on the Hill Day at the State House.  Participants were welcomed by Representative Frank Moran who listened to the youths’ stories of struggle and success and how many youth benefit from the SSYI program.  Additionally, they discussed the importance of “engagement and trust” and advocated the need for year round consistent funding.  

"This exciting annual event brings local officials, mayors and city managers, prevention leaders, law enforcement officials, and youth together to discuss effective ways to combat youth and gang violence and to educate state legislators about the importance of supporting youth violence prevention programs like the Senator Charles E. Shannon, Jr. Community Safety Initiative and the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative." 

Advocates are currently lobbying for the Massachusetts Fiscal Year '17  budget to fully fund the SSYI Program at the level of Governor Baker's original request. 
SSYI4000 5000Community Safety Day on the Hill is sponsored by the Metro Mayors Coalition, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and others.
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Lawrence Family Development Charter School Students, families, staff, board, and friends Support service mission in Dominican Republic for 17th year

February 25, 2016

service projectLawrence Family Development Charter School was founded in 1995 by Patricia Karl, its first Superintendent/Director, a dedicated Board of community leaders and a group of Latino parents seeking an education opportunity for their children that would value their language and culture.

Our school community was filled with generosity – volunteer service and donations – that helped it grow and prosper. Community service was a hallmark for students and early incorporated into graduation requirements. Students have provided at least twenty hours of service in food pantries, nursing homes, after school programs supporting countless needs throughout our community. 

Beginning in 1997 Mrs. Karl traveled to the Dominican Republic with Mision Joven Dominicana – a service mission founded by Benny Espailalt, a local business leader and Fr. Joachim Lally, a founding member of the charter school. Each year Mrs. Karl asked our school community to donate school supplies to take to poor communities in the Dominican Republic where she and others taught in schools, set up medical clinics in areas without access to medical care, and since 2009 have built homes for families and the elderly living in unsafe impoverished homes.

Every year the family that is Lawrence Family Development Charter School and the Maria del Pilar Quintana Family Center has donated hundreds of pounds of school supplies and in recent years, the funds to build one home for one family. The cost of building supplies for one home is $1700 – and in both 2015 and 2016 – enough has been raised to build two homes – helping two families live in dignity and security.

Each year Mrs. Karl has asked for student volunteers to assist with gathering and packing the school supplies as part of their community service. This year six 8th grade students: Clyde Peguero, Ginelly Vasques, Omar Alfonso, Adrian Rodriguez, Angel Casanova, and Shamil Diaz met with Mrs. Karl and designed posters to explain the need for school supplies, then visited classrooms at the Upper School and spoke to students asking for every student to donate materials that would benefit students in the Dominican Republic. On the last day before February vacation week, the students collected hundreds of items from the Upper School, and along with supplies donated by students at the Academy and Lower School, sorted them in categories. Tables in the Foley Library were filled with pencils, pens, crayon, markers, rulers, scissors, notebooks, art paper and children’s backpacks. 

For the first time school supplies would be shipped in large boxes – rather than carted in multiples suitcases – and on Friday, February 12 almost 500 pounds were packed by the students in two large cartons and shipped to the Dominican Republic – thanks to the owners of HomeShop Properties in Methuen.

Mrs. Karl will leave for the Dominican Republic on March 1st – bringing with her the good wishes and the good works of so many from our school and our community.
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Kuumba Singers of Harvard College

January 18, 2016

On Thursday, January 21, 2016, Lawrence Family Development Charter School (LFDCS) will host two forty-five minute performances by the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College, one for the Upper School students (grades 5-8) and a second for the Lower School students (grades 2-4) Each of the performances will conclude with a question and answer period between the singers and LFDCS students.

In addition to providing a musically enriching experience, Kuumba’s visit allows LFDCS students to see, hear, and meet college students from a wide range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. LFDCS' music instructor and Kuumba alumna, Genithia Hogges explains, “In a school that espouses family development, it is vital for students to see college as a realistic goal. This requires that they meet college students who look like them and come from similar circumstances. Too often, students wait until high school to think about college.They do not know what it takes to apply, be accepted, and successfully graduate with a college degree. They do not know what college life is like. In short, they are not ready, so when the time comes, they are left behind. Meeting members of Kuumba can begin to address these issues, planting a seed in the minds and hearts of our students and encouraging them to strive for the excellence necessary to achieve the goal of attending and completing an undergraduate degree”.

The Harvard College website describes the Kuumba Singers by sharing that the group was “established in 1970 by Black students at Harvard College who sought to create a space in which they could celebrate their creativity and spirituality. In an era of ‘Black Power’ and Black pride, immediately following the 1968 assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the choir emerged as a source of community, spiritual inspiration, political motivation and cultural stimulation among the small but growing number of Black students at Harvard. The group chose the name ‘Kuumba’ (Swahili for ‘creativity’) because it best captured the choir’s intent to reflect the creative genius of Black people through the rich diversity of Diasporic music and cultural expression”.
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Doodle 4 Google contest

December 10, 2015

Mia Ormaza with nameLFDCS students are participating the annual Doodle 4 Google contest. Doodle 4 Google is a national competition open to students in grades K-12. Students are invited to create their own Google doodle for the chance to have it featured on the Google homepage. LFDCS submitted for 4 Doodles to competition and 6 runners up. 

For this contest, students created doodles that told the world "What makes" Kids have all kinds of things that make them unique, so they were encouraged to think about that to create their doodles. There were 10 strong candidates. Among them, four drawings were selected for the contest. They will be judged on artistic merit, creativity, and representation of the contest theme. 

The national winner will receive a $30,000 college scholarship; a $50,000 Google for Education grant for his or her school; a trip to the Google Headquarters in California to meet the Google Doodlers, and the opportunity to nominate a teacher to come on the trip; a Chromebook; an Android tablet; a t-shirt printed with his or her doodle on it.

Four National Finalists who do not become the National Winner will have their doodles featured in the Doodle 4 Google gallery. Each National Finalist will receive a $5,000 college scholarship; a trip to the Google Headquarters in California to meet the Google Doodlers; an Android tablet; a t-shirt printed with his or her doodle on it.

48 State and Territory winners who do not become National Finalists will have their doodles included in the Doodle 4 Google gallery. Each State and Territory Winner will receive an Android tablet; a t-shirt printed with his or her doodle on it.

Congratulations to all of the LFDCS students who participated in creating innovative and inspirational Doodles.
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Congratulations to Our Newest Citizens

December 7, 2015

LFD and the Quintana Family Center congratulate Ms. Ana Mercedes Puente and Ms. Rita Corniel on recently becoming United States Citizens. 

AnaAna came to the Lawrence from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 2012 to be with her husband and children. Her desire to be part the larger community and to have a voice motivated her to enroll in the citizenship program at the Quintana Center in the spring of 2015. She filed her application for Citizenship in June of 2015, knowing that her biggest struggle would be the interview process. With the encouragement of her teacher and the Quintana Center staff, she completed the process this fall and was sworn in as a US Citizen right before Thanksgiving Day. 

RitaRita came to Lawrence from Santiago in the Dominican Republic with her four year old daughter in 2010. In the spring of 2015, she enrolled in the citizenship program at the Quintana Center. She was motivated by her drive to make a difference in the community, and a goal of bringing her parents over from the Dominican Republic. Thanks to the undivided attention, encouragement, and professionalism she found at the Quintana Center, she was sworn in as a US Citizen this fall. 

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a US Citizen, visit our webpage for information on registering for one of our classes. 

LFD y el Centro Familiar Quintana felicitan a la Sra. Ana Mercedes Puente y Sra. Rita Corniel por convertirse recientemente en ciudadanías de los Estados Unidos.

AnaAna llego a Lawrence desde Santo Domingo, República Dominicana en el 2012 para acompañar a su esposo e hijos. Sus deseos de ser parte de una comunidad más grande y de tener una voz, la motivo a inscribirse en el programa de ciudadanía en el Centro Quintana en la primavera del 2015. Ella presento su aplicación de Ciudadanía en junio del 2015, sabiendo que la lucha más grande seria el proceso de la entrevista. Con el apoyo de los maestros y el personal del Centro Quintana, ella completo el proceso este otoño y fue juramentada como ciudadana de los Estados Unidos justo antes del Día Acción de Gracias.

RitaRita llego a Lawrence desde Santiago, Republica Dominicana con su hija de cuatros año en 2010. En la primavera del 2015, se inscribió en el programa de Ciudadanía en el Centro Quintana. Ella fue motivada por el impulso para hacer una diferencia en la comunidad, y el objetivo de traer a sus padres de la Republica Dominicana. Gracias a la completa atención, apoyo, y profesionalismo que encontró en el Centro Quintana fue juramentada como ciudadana de los Estados Unidos este otoño.

Si usted o alguien que usted conoce está interesado en convertirse en un Ciudadano de los Estados Unidos, visite nuestra página web para obtener información sobre el registro de una de nuestras clases.
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YouthBuild Lawrence Accepting Applications

paul12Do you know of a young person between the ages of 16 and 24 who would like to attain his/her HiSET (GED) or has a high school diploma and would like to transition into College?

YouthBuild Lawrence is now accepting applications for the 2016 program cycle. Interested young people, between the ages of 16 to 24 and living in the Greater Lawrence area, should visit YouthBuild Lawrence at the historic Orange Wheeler House for one of our information sessions. Sessions are held every Tuesday and Thursday at 2:45 PM.

To find out if you are a fit or to requst complete an initial request for more information visit our webpage  
If you know of a young person between the ages of 16 and 24 who would like to attain his/her HiSET (GED) or has a high school diploma and would like to transition into college, feel free to let them know YBL hosts
WHEN: Every Tuesday and Thursday
TIME: 2:45 PM
PLACE: YouthBuild Lawrence
355 Haverhill Street, Lawrence
Phone number: 978-681-0548
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YouthBuild Graduates Honored by YouthBuild USA and Attorney General Healey

November 3, 2015

Attorney GeneralHealey YouthBuild GraduatesOn Monday, October 26th YouthBuild Graduate Glenda Liz Santiago joined Attorney General Maura HealeyDorothy Stoneman YouthBuild Founder and other Massachusetts YouthBuild graduates at this year’s YB USA “Building Better Together” event hosted by Nixon Peabody-Boston, MA.  

Ms. Santiago presented an eloquent speech describing her life before YouthBuild, the amazing impact YouthBuild has had on her life and her gratitude to the staff for their genuine commitment to assist her to reach her potential and encouragement of never giving up.

Since graduating YouthBuild-Lawrence in 2011, Ms. Santiago earned an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Certificate in Law Enforcement from Northern Essex Community College.  Subsequently, she took and passed the Civil Service Exam and completed an internship at the Lawrence Police Department.  Presently, she is a transfer student at Salem State University where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in forensic science with a minor in biology.  In the future, she wants to attend medical school and become a forensic pathologist.

Ms. Santiago is the proud mom to a beautiful son and daughter and works a Therapeutic Mentor at Children’s Friends & Families.
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YouthBuild Students Discuss Social Justice Issues around the Armenian Genocide

October 27, 2015

genocideThis year marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, a horrific tragedy which occurred during 1915-1923 at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. On October 23, 2015, Lawrence Family Development YouthBuild Students proudly hosted Ara Jeknavorian and Tom Vartabedian, descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors, who shared their personal stories and spoke about the genocide in the context of the ultimate violation of human rights. They shared the atrocious events on the genocide and Rody Lopez, YouthBuild student, commented “It’s crazy how they killed so many people and how everyone forgot about it.”

Mr. Jeknavorian and Mr. Vartabedian are part of an organization called the Armenian Genocide Curriculum Committee of the Merrimack Valley that strives to provide greater insight about why the genocide occurred and how it set the stage and enabled subsequent genocides such as the Jewish holocaust as well as the Bosnian, Rwandan and Cambodian genocides. The organization provides complementary educational resources to local schools. Karlos Delecruz, YouthBuild student and vice-president of the school’s student government, appropriately said “During the genocide they killed millions. It should be in the history books. People need to learn about this.”

While at YouthBuild, students learn about many social justice issues and strive to make their community a better place. For example, while preparing for High School Equivalency exams, students strategize ways to solve complex problems such a bullying and access to healthcare. Additionally, as part of the vocational component of the program, YouthBuild students build affordable housing addressing homelessness and access to home ownership. YouthBuild seeks to educate our opportunity youth to be leaders and powerful agents of change here in the city of Lawrence.
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LFDCS Featured at Mass Charter Schools' 20th Birthday Gala

October 26, 2015

mcharterschoolsOn Saturday, October 22nd at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, the Massachusetts Charter School Association held a 20th Birthday Party gala. The purpose of the event, which attracted 800 attendees, was to recognize the significance of twenty years of charter schools’ operations in Massachusetts. The gala included Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, former Senate Chair Billy Bulger, Governor Charlie Baker, and Lawrence’s State Representative Frank Moran --- all of whom are charter school champions. Lawrence Family Development Charter School is proud to be one of the fourteen original charter schools in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

A video with a primary focus on Lawrence Family Development Charter School was premiered at the Gala. Founded in 1995, the Lawrence Family Development, Inc.'s Lawrence Family Development Charter School (LFDCS) is one of the first K-8 Commonwealth public charter schools. As a “Level 1” public school for MCAS performance in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, the work of LFDCS is known for best practices as a Massachusetts urban school. The school uses research-based practices for academic instruction and intervention, and supplements this instruction with after school and summer school programs. 

According to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Marley, “We were delighted the Massachusetts Charter School Association conceptualized the video shown at the gala and selected LFDCS as a focus point. Superintendent Ralph Carrero, as well as our students, teachers, and parents clearly helped the film crew of New Media Advocacy Project demonstrate that Lawrence Family Development Charter School is true to its mission and a beacon of promise in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Funding for the film was supported by the Walton Foundation.
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STEM Center Ribbon Cutting 10/22/15

October 22, 2015

On Thursday, October 22nd, Lawrence Family Development Education Fund and Lawrence Family Development Charter School celebrated the ribbon cutting for the new LFDCS STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Center. This event marked the official opening and unveiling to donors, parents, and community stakeholders. 
Attendees, in awe of the new facility, expressed gratitude to:

  • Holt & Bugbee Foundation - which is a family-owned, socially-responsible company in Tewksbury and impressed by its Hispanic workforce. With a STEM Center donation, the company is eager to contribute to the workforce of tommorow…….
  • Mr. & Mrs. Kingman Webster - who donated their STEM gift to fund some of the STEM Center’s technology resources……
  • Ms. Cynthia Alekel Mohr & Family – a close friend of Lawrence Family Development Charter School and one of the first donors to the STEM Center. Her gifts to the Center were made with love for the students of Lawrence, where she was educated……
  • The Stevens Foundations – an ongoing supporter of Lawrence Family Development – the Foundation shows special concern for creating opportunities for new immigrant populations in the Merrimack Valley……
  • Webster Family Fund of Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) – a Fund which invests in Capital improvements.The funds awarded to Lawrence Family Development are from ECCF where Lawrence Family Development’s endowded high school scholarship fund are managed…..
  • Lawrence Family Development Facilities Team - attendees celebrated the tremendous skills and dedication of Lawrence Family Development’s Facilites staff members, who labored many hours to create a fabulous STEM facility for the school community…….
IMG 0236Student Ambassadors gave tours to benefactors, while also finding time to experiment with some of the new technology features of the Center. Students, faculty and guests marveled over the new 3D printer and flew one of the two drones available for student use. The STEM Center will be primarily used by students in the 5th through 8th grades. The Student Ambassadors that participated in welcoming guests and providing tours were: 7th Grade - Arianna Munoz, Albert Reyes, Kasey Bisono, and Kelvin Lopez, 8th Grade - Adrian Rodriguez, Shamil Diaz, Ashley Lara, and Samantha Hernandez. 

In addressing those gathered, the newly-hired LFDCS STEM Coordinator, George Masterson, quoted Sir Isaac Newton: "If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants."

Founded in 1995, the Lawrence Family Development, Inc.'s Lawrence Family Development Charter School (LFDCS) is one of the first K-8 Commonwealth public charter schools. It has operated for twenty years. In March 2015 the school earned its fifth charter to operate as a Massachusetts Public Commonwealth Charter School. As a “Level 1” public school for MCAS performance in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the work of the Lawrence Family Development Charter School is known for its best practices as a Massachusetts urban school. The school uses research-based practices for academic instruction and intervention, and supplements this instruction with after school and summer school programs.

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