About the Teen Center at St Peter
Catholic Charities’ Teen Center at St. Peter serves as a safe haven for adolescents living in Dorchester’s most troubled areas—the Bowdoin Street / Geneva Avenue neighborhood—during after school hours and throughout the summer months. The Teen Center’s staff, programs, and activities aim to increase teens’ self-esteem while providing the tools needed for academic and personal growth, as well as their success in the community.
Alternative to Teen Violence
The Teen Center focuses on adolescents who have been disproportionately exposed to and involved in teen violence in Dorchester. Through critical outreach efforts and extensive, well-structured programming, the Teen Center has been successful in helping to interrupt the rapidly expanding cycle of violence. Each young person who comes through the door receives personal attention, and the tutoring and mentoring they need to succeed, as well as outreach to their families to help in resolving conflicts and in obtaining additional services that may be needed.
Who We Serve
Close to 300 youths, ages 12-19 in grades 7-12, regularly access the Teen Center on an annual basis; more than 100 additional teens are served through sports tournaments each year. Most of the Teen Center “members” attend Boston Public schools. Our greatest growth over the past few years has been among the middle schools children ages 11-13. This is a direct reflection of the needs in the neighborhood to keep these youngsters off the streets at an earlier age.
Our dedicated staffed vans provide after-school pick-up and safe delivery of youths to their homes in the evenings. The Teen Center, located in a renovated school building at 278 Bowdoin Street, Dorchester, is open year round:
Fall/Winter/Spring: After school from 2:00-9:00 pm, Monday – Friday
Summer: Open seven days/week from x a.m.-11:00 pm
The Teen Center is open to youths of all backgrounds and faiths; most members are from immigrant families from Cape Verde. It was newly arriving Cape Verdean families who, in partnership with Catholic Charities of Boston, opened the Teen Center in 2002.
The positive impact of the St. Peter Teen Center is evident in its outcomes for these children and young adults socially, personally and academically. The teen members have low pregnancy rates, no gang involvement, less than one percent have been arrested, and none have been killed. These results are incredible when we see that Dorchester has Boston’s highest juvenile arrest rate, violent crime rate,and highest DYS population rate. The Teen Center’s first focus is academics with a strong after-school tutoring program provided for its members.
Outstanding Academic Results
- One-third of members are not literate in English upon admission and 65% become English literate within six months of enrollment, and 95% become literate within 12 months.
- 92% of the high school senior members successfully pass the MCAS and TOEFL testing
- 92% graduate from their Boston public high school (BPS) vs. the average graduation rate of 66% from BPS
- 88% apply are accepted into a program of higher education
- 72% are accepted to four-year and two-year colleges with the goal of going onto a four-year school
- 60% develop leadership skills
- 70% develop job readiness skills and job retention skills
- 50% participate in financial literacy workshops and improve their money management skills
We Need Your Help
Our focus is on the youth and our many programs are taught and managed through one on one and small group mentoring. Contributions from generous donors ensure our youth receive the personal attention they need and deserve,and allows the Teen Center to keep even more teenagers off the streets during after school hours.
- A gift of $25 helps provide nutritious snacks or a hot dinner for students; many who may not have anything else to eat before breakfast at school the next morning
- A gift of $50 will help employ a Counselor-in-Training for the summer session
- A gift of $100 enables us to run three 15-passenger vans to safely bring teens to and from the Teen Center and home everyday
- A gift of $250 contributes to the salary of a Youth Worker helping our teens with homework and high school, college, or job preparation
- A gift of $500 supports a full-time licensed clinician who facilitate family support groups