Serving over 700 young men from 21 communities across Massachusetts, disrupting the cycle of poverty and incarceration.
High-Risk Young Men
|56%||History Of Incarceration|
|86%||Gang or Street Involved|
|88%||Prior Juvenile/Adult Probation|
|84%||High School Dropout|
|70%||No Employment History|
Roca’s Intervention Model
Roca’s Intervention Model is designed to help high-risk young men leave streets and gangs and go to work. Through relentless outreach, tailored programming and collaboration with community partners, Roca helps young men transform their lives.
Participant, Young Men’s Program, Chelsea
Tyler King was raised by his father in Revere. By the time he graduated from high school, Tyler was an alcoholic, drinking heavily and hanging out in the streets. Angry and easily provoked, he caught multiple assault charges. In fall 2013, the Chelsea District Court referred Tyler to Roca, and his name landed on the case list of Josiah Hill, Roca’s Youth Worker in Revere.
Josiah located Tyler, but Tyler continually brushed him off. “I didn’t think I could change,” Tyler remembers, “and I didn’t think it was worth anyone’s time to try to get me to change.” Undeterred, Josiah stopped by Tyler’s house every day for a month. Having no luck with Tyler, Josiah gained the confidence of Tyler’s grandmother and father. Finally, Josiah knocked at the door one day and found Tyler’s father at home. He let Josiah in and pointed him toward Tyler’s room. At last, Tyler relented. 1130Read More
“I used to worry that that my brother would go down the wrong path, like I did. Now I tell him he’s got to go to college, too.”
— Tyler King
Participant, Young Men’s Program, Springfield
On the first day Josh walked into Roca, 2 years ago, he had no idea his life was about to change. Josh came to Roca after being released from jail where he had been locked up for two months and as a result lost his job and his apartment. He was struggling to get by and did not want to go back to the life he’d lived before. When he first came to Roca he thought he had it all figured out. He would go in and get a job and that would be it. This turned out to be just the beginning of what he would do with Roca and with his life.
First, Josh was assigned his youth worker, Pat. For a full month, Pat reached out to Josh every day and Josh would not respond, he didn’t trust him. After this month, Josh started to answer his calls and to talk to him. They began to grow their relationship. Now, Josh feels he is close with Pat, that they “have a good bond. We talk about things, we argue, sometimes he really pisses me off, but we get through it. We go out to eat, go to the movies. If I need anything, he’ll pick me up. He’s just always there”. 791Read More
“My Youth Worker and I have a good bond. We talk about things, we argue, sometimes he really pisses me off, but we get through it. We go out to eat, go to the movies. If I need anything, he'll pick me up. He's just always there”
Youth Worker, Young Men’s Program
Day to day, Michael Bonds can be found, in a neon green shirt, driving a 15 seater Roca van, searching for and engaging 25 of the highest risk young men in the city of Boston. Michael asks them to come with him on a journey to change their lives. Michael Bonds is a youth worker at Roca Boston.
Michael describes his early life as similar to that of many young people served by Roca. Born and raised in Roxbury, a neighborhood of Boston, he was in a similar cycle of crime and incarceration, ultimately spending 10 years in prison, 3 of those in solitary confinement. This incarceration and release motivated Michael to change the way he had been living. He no longer wanted the life he had been living and wanted a change.
From his release in 2000, Michael embarked on a long hard road. Most businesses in Boston were not willing to hire someone with a criminal record. He began lying on applications just to get hired. This resulted in a revolving door of jobs, all lost when his criminal record was discovered. Despite a lack of support from the outside world, Michael continued to pursue work and a life that was stable and sustainable. 793Read More
“I really do care about the lives of the young people in this community. I want them to get it.”
— Michael Bonds