Initiative helps youth in Holyoke

These young men received guidance from program role models

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Dozens of young Holyoke men who’ve been in trouble with the law were applauded Friday for turning their lives around.

Abdien Navarro received recognition Friday afternoon from the Holyoke Safe and successful youth initiative. The organization honored Nazarro and dozens of other young men who are turning their lives around. “What’s the biggest change in your life? Lots of patience, patience is the key”

Navarros’ mom is so proud of her son setting more positive directions for his life. “I feel very proud because he’s not the same person now.”

And neither is Damion Johnson, who successfully joined the program after he got into trouble on the streets of Holyoke. “Before I got incarcerated, I was involved in a lot of different things, firearms, drugs.”

These young men received guidance from program role models like Israel Rivera. He himself had changed his life after spending time in jail. “The guys face lots of challenges, a lot of them came from broken homes some are homeless, the parents use, there are a lot of social issues”

Holyoke is one of 11 Massachusetts cities using the youth initiative program. The other city’s include Springfield and Boston.

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