Whittier Street Health Center Receives New Funding Towards Youth Prevention Services

  • January 5, 2021


Closing the Gap on Youth Violence in Low-Income Neighborhoods

Boston, MA – Whittier Street Health Center is pleased to announce that State Senator William N. Brownsberger, 2nd Suffolk and Middlesex District, has secured an amendment to the FY21 state budget that will provide $90,000 in funding to Whittier to expand its youth violence prevention services at the Alice Heywood Taylor Apartments in Roxbury. The funding is in direct response to concerns about a perceived uptick in youth violence that the area has experienced since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

State Senator William N. Brownsberger states, “We are very pleased to work with Whittier Street to support youth in the Alice Taylor homes.” The new funds will allow Whittier’s youth services team to offer young people in the Apartments access to a variety of much needed services, including mental health counseling, fitness and recreation activities, and career readiness skills training. The Alice Heywood Taylor Apartments, located across the street from Whittier and behind the Boston Police Headquarters, are among more than a dozen public housing developments.  Whittier has trained and placed tenants to serve as Health Ambassadors and Social Health Coordinators, responsible for connecting their fellow tenants to Whittier’s primary and preventive care and social services, including youth violence prevention programs. Whittier has also trained public housing youths as Peer Leaders and Youth Mentors.

The American Psychological Association states, “Although exposure to violence affects all socioeconomic status (SES) groups, youth from lower SES backgrounds tend to have increased exposure and likelihood of suffering from detrimental future outcomes. Exposure to violence during youth has long-term life consequences. For example, adolescents who were physically abused have decreased odds of getting married, reduced educational attainment, and reduced income and net worth in adulthood.”

Frederica M. Williams, President & CEO, Whittier Street Health Center states, “We are grateful to Senator Brownsberger and, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for the investment in the health, safety, and well-being of our vulnerable youths. The Whittier Youth Services Enrichment Program provides our youths with access to healthcare, behavioral health, social support, mentorship, skill-building and academic support, so they can live healthier lives and reach their full potential.”

For more information about Whittier Street Health Center’s WYSE (Whittier Youth Services Enrichment) program, please contact Toriano Johnson (, Youth Development Coordinator or Christine Pajarillo (, LICSW, Vice President of Programs and Social Services.

Whittier Street Health Center is an independently licensed community health care center with a mission of providing high quality, reliable and accessible primary healthcare for diverse populations while promoting wellness and eliminating health and social disparities. A champion of equitable access to high quality, patient-focused care, social justice and economic equity, Whittier is accredited by The Joint Commission (TJC), certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Patient-Centered Medical Home, and is recognized by the NCQA for its Behavioral Health Integration. Through its locations in Roxbury and North Dorchester, and its Mobile Health Van Program, Whittier serves nearly 30,000 patients and 20,000 community outreach visits annually; its ethnically and racially diverse patient base is primarily made up of individuals from Roxbury, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, the South End and Greater Boston. Approximately 36% of Whittier’s patients are uninsured. Whittier provides a comprehensive array of 40 healthcare programs and services designed to meet the primary health care, behavioral health, and social needs of the community. Learn more at

Media Contact: Nicole Maxey


phone: 617.680.8163

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