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Boston City Hall
Mayor Thomas MeninoMayor Thomas M. Menino
Boston, Massachusetts

 Every kid who wants an opportunity, we'll give it to him, either through education, summer programs, or summer jobs. We put 11,000 kids to work in the summer. Every kid who needs a summer job gets one.

 We trust the community groups in our city, they trust us. We've made resources available for them, we made it easier for them to operate in our city. We have to have a relationship with the community groups, with the city. That's so important and it takes time to develop.

 It's building the faith of those people in our city, not just the inner city, but in the neighborhoods. That's what it's all about. Having them build faith in what the administration is doing, and also having them as a partner. Because it takes partnership, it takes collaboration, it takes everybody working together to make a safer city and a place you want to live and raise your family.

 One of the first things we did was to bring all the community groups together and say to them, "We want you to be our partner and come up with a strategic plan for our city." We had a meeting with about 500 community groups and over the next year they worked with the police captains to come up with a strategic plan for their police districts.

 What we had to do was build collaboration and trust with all the neighborhood groups. Every mayor has to understand that the community groups in the neighborhoods of their cities are their partners. The people who live in their neighborhoods ARE their lifeblood. They build strong neighborhoods, and when you have strong neighborhoods, you have strong environments. They're the oxygen. If the neighborhood works, then the city works.

 The Streetworker program is really so vital to all the people. When we have problems on the streets, they're there. They are our first line of defense because those [young men] relate to the other kids, they're kids talking to kids, and they help us find the resources and they help get us to the root of the problems.

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