Urban Youth Collaborative connects young people with summer jobs

This year marks the program's 26th anniversary

BOSTON (WWLP) – Instead of going on vacation, more than 100 young people took on full-time summer jobs helping residents with intellectual disabilities through the Urban Youth Collaborative.

The program allows interns to work with developmental centers across Massachusetts, providing support to individuals with intellectual disabilities.

The largest group of interns served this year with Behavioral Health Network, which provides rehabilitation and behavioral health services to children, adults and families throughout western Massachusetts including Chicopee, Holyoke and Springfield.

Chavahya Soto, who is working with People, Inc. over the summer, told 22News that she hopes to continue helping people with disabilities or mental health conditions in the future after going to school for art therapy.

“There were things that I would take for granted that they have to live with on a daily basis,” Soto explained. “So it made me more appreciative for my life.”

This year marks the program’s 26th anniversary.