Sun Shine: Youth take matters into own hands — and it’s good news

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Kathy Esparza and Caleb Encarncion-Rivera, second and third from left, pose with Y4D4's second cohort of teen activists -- along with city officials, among them City Manager Edward M Augustus (third row, left) and District 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera (third from right) during a ceremony at City Hall last November.

Courtesy Kathy Esparza

Kathy Esparza and Caleb Encarnacion-Rivera, second and third from left, pose with Y4D4’s second cohort of teen activists — along with city officials, among them City Manager Edward M Augustus (third row, left) and District 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera (third from right) — during a ceremony at City Hall last November.

It would seem that the youth of Worcester are up to no good. Some might say there has arisen this summer an unprecedented epidemic of violence and apathy among the city’s teenagers ‒ those, anyway, who live and learn in the shadowy, reputation-stained corners of the city not seen in the New York Times.

Heathens and miscreants, all of them. Destined to follow in the footsteps of every bad example they bump into on their cracked-sidewalk, broken-streetlight walk home from school. Destined to be ignored. Forgotten.

Like it or not, that’s how many youngsters in the city feel: ignored and forgotten, painted with the same broad strokes that color perceptions of their neighborhoods, like Main South and Great Brook Valley. Look at how they treat their neighbors; what do they have to contribute anyway?

Well, if you would kindly look past the reputations and preconceived notions, you might see the same thing Katherine A. Esparza and Caleb Encarnacion-Rivera have observed and fostered and built with their Main South-based youth group: hope.


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