SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

July 30, 2013

Summer jobs program to make a difference downtown

PEABODY — Broken and uneven sidewalks, faded street signs, walls and mailboxes tagged with graffiti, trash-strewn streets and dilapidated buildings are common in many downtown neighborhoods, not just in Peabody.

Yesterday, during a walking tour of downtown Peabody with city and state officials, plenty of the above was on display as a dozen young people looked to make an impact here, in Salem’s Point neighborhood and in Beverly’s Gloucester Crossing area by addressing some of these issues.

“Trim down the weeds, get rid of trash, get street cleaners, street sweepers and get more people to volunteer to help out the community,” said Ariel Zorrilla, 17, of Peabody, about how to solve the problems.

The tour, the second of its kind in Peabody, was organized by the North Shore Community Development Coalition and its summer youth jobs program. The six-week program pays low-income teens minimum wage for a 20-hour-a-week summer job, funded by the North Shore Workforce Investment Board, North Shore Career Center, Forest Foundation and Mass Promise Fellowship. The program pays for materials, supplies and T-shirts; attracts in-kind donations and offers to train kids in soft job skills such as resume writing, said Jackie Rose Giordano, director of external affairs for North Shore CDC.

“They do walk-throughs of each city, and they pick out things they want to work on,” said Sarah Dionne, 20, of Salem, the Forest Foundation youth programs intern.

While walking down Washington, Oak and Sanborn streets, the teens pointed out faded street signs and missing bricks in sidewalks. On Washington Street, there was a TV left out for the trash with a couple of used diapers nearby. They saw a weed-filled vacant lot on Oak Street in which the chain-link fence had been ripped out of the ground.

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