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The Boston Globe


The Podium

Safe havens for youths

When Manuel Gomes first arrived in Boston eight years ago, his future looked grim. He emigrated with his mother and two brothers, leaving other brothers and sisters home with family in the small island of Cape Verde off the western coast of Africa. Gomes spent his first few years in a small Dorchester apartment. Like many kids, he sought camaraderie. “I did not speak English and, with my new group of friends, I found myself getting into trouble a lot,” explained Gomes.

Manuel is not the only young person in our city that has found trouble. Sometimes faced with few options other than the immediately visible and the deep teenage need for acceptance, kids get in over their heads quickly. Year in and year out, summers bring a rash of violence in troubled Boston neighborhoods — often with tragic results, both for the young men and women finding themselves the perpetrators of such crime and for the innocent standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. And this summer is unfortunately no different, with reports showing a spike in violence already.

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