YouthConnect Worcester

Who We Are

YouthConnect is a unique and strong collaboration of youth serving agencies. Each agency serves youth year-round with evidence-based strategies aligned with their mission.  We think this decentralized approach provides the best opportunities for youth because each agency is delivering their signature program. The targeted population is youth age 11-15 with a particular focus on reaching students who have very few opportunities during evenings in the summer. Worcester students in general are very high need, with 59% designated as economically disadvantaged. Providing transportation gives opportunity to youth who are otherwise unable to participate.


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Partner Agencies

YWCA Central Massachusetts

YWCA Central Massachusetts, founded in 1885, is the longest serving multi-service agency by, for, and about women and girls in Central Massachusetts. The YWCA recognizes the strengths and competencies of women and offers support, resources, advocacy, and education to empower them to take charge of their lives and become independent and financially secure.


The YWCA’s youth development programming focuses on encouraging youth to develop positive lifestyle habits, including healthful eating and regular physical activity; it provides safe spaces for youth to develop leadership skills and community connections; and it seeks to reduce barriers that contribute to health disparities for underserved youth and their families.



YOU, Inc.

YOU, Inc. is one of the leading behavioral health and education agencies in Massachusetts offering dozens of exceptional programs. Last year alone they provided services to more than 12,000 youth and their caregivers. Most youth and families served by YOU, Inc. receive a range of services through our organization, from vocational training and college access services, to individual and family counseling, positive parenting education, therapeutic mentoring, early childhood services, and specialized out-of-home care for youth with more serious mental health challenges. All of these programs stem from their mission to provide youth and families with bright and healthy futures.



YMCA of Central MA

The YMCA of Central Massachusetts is an association united in a common goal to strengthen our communities and to develop the spirit, mind and body of all persons, regardless of means, through activities guided by and based upon our core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.  The YMCA of Central Massachusetts builds the Foundations of Community through programs and services that are for Youth Development, for Healthy Living, and for Social Responsibility.


With holistic support, children and teens can develop the skills they need to be successful in life. The Y believes that youth development is the social-emotional, cognitive and physical process that all youth uniquely experience from birth to career. A successful development process fulfills children’s and teens’ innate need to be loved, spiritually grounded, competent and healthy. The Y nurtures youth through the development process, helping them realize their potential to be active, thriving and contributing members of society.



Girls Inc.

Girls Inc.’s mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. We put our mission into practice through the people, place, and programming that together, empower girls to succeed. For over 100 years, Girls Inc. has been providing critical programming to thousands of girls from the Greater Worcester area, particularly those identified as under-resourced and low-income. Each year, more than 1,000 girls receive life-changing experiences, the tools, and the support they need to succeed. Trained professionals mentor and guide participants in a safe, girls-only environment. Girls learn to set/achieve goals, how to confront challenges, resist peer pressure, see college as attainable, and explore nontraditional fields.


Girls Inc.’s year round, hands on, researched-based programming can be grouped into 4 areas: On-site academic year programs, summer programs, in-school programs, and our capstone program- Eureka!. Out-of-school programs like our after school care, basketball league, and swim programs occur throughout the school year. Summer programs include 8 weeks of summer and STEM leadership camps for girls in grades K-9. In-school violence prevention and economic literacy programs run from 12-32 weeks during the school year. Our year-round, Eureka! program offers more than 1,000 hours of program time between 8th and 12th grade, with a focus on STEM-related college and career readiness



Friendly House

Friendly House was founded 100 years ago for the educational, social, recreational and family betterment of residents of the City of Worcester, serving as an integrating force for the families and the Neighborhood(s) it serves. They provide a comprehensive array of services to Worcester families, including Basic Needs/Case Management; Youth Services; Emergency, Transitional, and Permanent Supportive Housing; Food Services – including Summer and After School meals; and Winter Emergency Shelter.



Boys & Girls Club of Worcester

Our Mission is to help youth, especially those who need us most, develop the qualities needed to become responsible citizens and community leaders, through caring professional staff who forge relationships with our youth members and influence their ability to succeed in life.


Our Core Beliefs

  • We believe in hope and opportunity for all young people, especially those who need us most.
  • We believe in the importance of fun in the lives of children and their right to a happy, joyful childhood.
  • We believe in the transformational power of ongoing relationships with caring adults.
  • We believe in our kids can BE GREAT, with encouragement and high expectations!
  • We believe that service rewards both those who give and those who receive.



HOPE Coalition

The HOPE Coalition is a youth-adult partnership with a mission to reduce youth violence and substance use and promote adolescent mental health and youth voice in the City of Worcester.

The HOPE Mental Health Model

Integrates mental health counselors into youth organizations to address stigma, transportation and other access barriers.

Roughly 800 youth and young adults served each year through groups and one-on-one sessions. Counselors work at the Boys & Girls Club, Friendly House, Girls, Inc., and the Worcester Youth Center.  Youth workers receive training how to address mental health issues with the young people they serve.


Worcester Youth Center

The Worcester Youth Center’s mission is to provide a safe place where young people can build lasting, positive changes in their lives. Since 1994, the Worcester Youth Center has provided a safe space for education, health and recreation programs for inner city youth. The only free teen “drop-in” center with structured programs and support groups in Worcester, it serves more than 400 young people ages 14 to 24 each year, and nearly 400 are regular participants in its leadership and practical learning programs. The Center registers more the 15,000 visits a year.