Services For Children/Teens

CHA’s Resident Services Department, together with many of the City’s service organizations, offers many educational, social, recreational, vocational, and athletic programs for young residents and voucher holders.

CHA Programs

The Work Force

The Work Force is a comprehensive life-skills and vocational training program for low-income youth who live in Cambridge public housing.

Winner of numerous national awards in program innovation, the Work Force provides participants with networks of learning and support that begin in the eighth grade and continue through high school.

Since its inception in 1984, the Work Force has provided CHA youth opportunities to flourish personally and professionally. Our mission is to break the cycle of generational poverty that often consigns low-income youth to futures of economic and educational disadvantage.

In keeping with this goal, the Work Force’s initiatives are driven by long-term investment rather than quick-fix solutions. Our program employs a highly structured “whole person” approach unique in both its manner and duration of support. We enroll youth at a younger age and work with them for a longer period of time than conventional teen programs.

We believe that broad-based support and training in each central area of a student’s life—home, school, and work—are critical to his or her long-term success.

Program staff maintains a regular presence in the schools and at our students’ job sites. We form partnerships among parents, teachers, employers, and other key people in our participants’ lives. Perhaps most importantly, the program’s on-site location in three CHA developments allows staff to have unique levels of accessibility and credibility with participants and their families.

Weaving these diverse voices into the daily fabric of our program helps us sustain the personal support necessary for each participant’s personal and professional growth.


Jefferson Park, Roosevelt Towers & 119 Windsor Street,
Cambridge, MA
(617) 520-6350

This Way Onward Boston


This Way Onward Boston is a retail training program for youth ages 16-24 in Greater Boston. Funded and sponsored by Gap Inc., This Way Onward provides intensive job training and paid summer internships for over 75 youth annually. The program consists of three parts:

  • Job Readiness Workshops: These are intensive 10-12 week paid workshops focusing on basic job skills, with a special emphasis on job readiness skills needed to succeed in a customer service industry such as retail.
  • Interview and Apply phase: After completion of the workshops, about 80% of participants are invited to apply for 35+ summer paid internships. Applications are done online and participants sign up and attend individual or group interviews.
  • Summer paid internships: This Way Onward offers 35 paid summer internships annually at Greater Boston Old Navy stores. Managers choose from the pool of applicants and This Way Onward job coach provides in-store and workshop supports to interns during the 10 week summer internships with the goal of having more than 85% of the interns receive a permanent part-time or seasonal job offer at the end of their internship.

This Way Onward Boston youth largely consist of residents from Cambridge and Boston Housing Authorities, as well as other surrounding low-income housing providers. This Way Onward works with the Boston Private Industry Council and other partners to recruit and provide on-going support to youth.


This Way Onward serves teens and young adults ages 16-24 with an interest in gaining retail experience. There are no performance criteria for admittance into the program: participation requires only that students be at least 16 years of age and no older than 24 years of age by May 1st. Preference is given to participants living in Cambridge Housing Authority or Boston Housing Authority developments or using a Section 8 Voucher from either Housing Authority, but the program is open to all. Enrollment process begins yearly in January and program begins in March. If you are interested in applying, please do the following in January:

  • Signup for an information session and updates. Link will be available in January.
  • Attend an information session to learn more about the program and submit an application.


(617) 499-7011

Partnership Programs – Youth Development

Caretaker/Child Literacy Activity Groups

Caretaker/Child Literacy Activity Groups are weekly activity-based gatherings in family developments for parents/caretakers and their children ages 0–5. We teach about child development, early literacy development, and developing peer support networks.


Information: (617) 547-1063
Agenda for Children: (617) 665-3827

Head Start/Daycare

Head Start classrooms are at Jefferson Park. Some classrooms function as full-day childcare facilities. 


(617) 623-1392 x111

West Cambridge Youth Center

The West Cambridge Youth Center provides after-school, evening and summer recreational and educational activities for children ages 6-19. We provide access to summer camp and summer job opportunities sponsored by the Department of Human Service Programs.


Corcoran Park
(617) 349-6200

Pathways to Family Success

Parents ROCK is a ten-week Saturday morning program (run three times per year) that introduces parents and their 4- to 7-year old children to literacy-building computer programs. We also explore ways for caretakers to support the development of early literacy in the home.


119 Windsor St., Cambridge, MA
(617) 665-3827

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay

Program overview: In our Community Based program, youth (Littles) get matched with a mentor (Big Brother/Big Sister) and develop a 1 to 1 mentoring friendship. They get together twice a month, for about 2-4 hours, for a minimum duration of 1 year.

Their outings consist of free or low cost activities out in the community. That could include going to the park, playing sports, going to museums, cooking, and doing any other activity that they both enjoy. The Big, the Little, and their family are supported by their agency throughout the life of the match. Visit Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Duration of program: Minimum of 1 year (child could stay in program till they are 18 years old)

Who can apply: Boys and girls, 7-12

Eligibility requirements: Boys and girls, ages 7-12

Application deadline: On a rolling basis (Anytime throughout the year)

Contact info: Jenny Bautista, Community Engagement and Recruitment Coordinator,, 617-956-0205

Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, Community-Based Mentoring

Program overview:  Our mission is to ignite girls’ passion and power to succeed through positive mentoring relationships with women and enrichment programs that support girls’ healthy development.

Our largest one-to-one mentoring program matches girls between the ages of 7-15 with a Big Sister. These Little Sisters meet individually with their Big Sisters at a date and time of their choosing, and engage in low- to no-cost activities that can range from baking to basketball, watching movies to simply talking with each other. Visit Big Sister Association.

Duration of program: Big and Little Sisters commit to at least one year together, meeting weekly for the first three months and twice per month after that. Girls remain Little Sisters until they are 20 years old, at which point they graduate from the program and can become Big Sisters themselves! Often, the bonds formed between Big and Little Sisters continue on as life-long friendships

Who can apply:  Girls ages 7-15 years old

Eligibility requirements: N/A

Application deadline: N/A

Contact info: Heidi Ziobro, 617-236-8374 or hziobro@bigsister.org

CCC Afterschool Program

Program overview:  Our afterschool program consists of CCC Enriches, our K-5 program and CCC Inspires, our middle school program. Arrival takes place between around 2:00pm and 3:15pm. From 3:15pm to 4:30pm, our program includes time for socializing, a nutritious snack, classroom activities, and homework help. Starting this year, we have partnered with a local organization called Food For Free which donates food weekly to our organization, enabling us to feed each child a well-rounded hot meal before they go home. Electives in our Afterschool Program include cooking classes, sports, dance, hip hop music, MinecraftEDU, among many others. Visit Cambridge Community Center.

Duration of program: All school year

Who can apply: Open to all children in grades K-8

Application deadline: Rolling admissions until full

Contact info: Rachel Kinch,, 617-547-6811

CCC Empowers Teen Program

Program overview:  Founded in 2012, CCC Empowers provides young people between the ages of 14-18 with opportunities to gain valuable work experience throughout their high school years. CCC Empowers focuses on providing experiences for participants that instill 21st century skills, such as leadership, accountability, and flexibility. Opportunities include supervising children in our CCC Enriches K-5 program, working at the Cambridge Winter Farmers Market in the winter and spring months, helping with administrative tasks in our offices, creating social media content, and supporting fundraising efforts. Visit Cambridge Community Center.

Duration of program: All school year

Who can apply: Open to all teens in grades 9-12

Application deadline: Rolling admissions until full

Contact info: Latifah James,, 617-547-6811

Cowemoki Summer Enrichment Program

Program overview: Cowemoki Summer Enrichment Program is located at the Cambridge Community Center at 5 Callender Street, Cambridge. The program runs from 7:30am until 4:30pm, Monday-Friday, with an extended day option ending at 5:30pm. Every day, children are provided with breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack. The program offers two weekly K-8 soccer classes, taught by professional coaches from the GOALS soccer training program, along with a basketball league that meets twice a week in collaboration with Coaching Corps. Every Friday at Cowemoki is Field Trip Friday, with destinations including the New England Aquarium, Farrington Nature Linc, and the Boston Harbor Islands.

Duration of program: July 3, 2017 – August 25, 2017 (8 weeks)

Who can apply: Open to all children in grades K-8

Application deadline: Rolling admissions until full

Contact info: Rachel Kinch,, 617-547-6811

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School Chinese Language Programs – Two-way Immersion and the NiHao world language program.

Program overview: Chinese is for Everyone!

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School is an innovative public school where every student learns Mandarin Chinese.  Families can choose either Two Way Immersion or the NiHao world language program, depending on their level of interest.

In Two-Way Immersion classrooms, students learn academic content in both Chinese and English.  Immersion students spend half of their day in a Chinese immersion classroom—an immersive experience that is so effective that younger students don’t believe that their Chinese teachers know any English!  (In fact, they are bilingual.)

In NiHao classrooms, students learn and speak in English.  “NiHao” means “hello” in Chinese, and this program is welcoming introduction to Chinese language and culture.  In NiHao, students take Chinese four times per week.  The NiHao Chinese class focuses on cultural exploration and conversational Mandarin.  NiHao students receive their academic curriculum content in English.  Visit Cambridge Public Schools.

Duration of program: JK-5

Who can apply:  You must be a resident of Cambridge to register for the Cambridge Public Schools.

Eligibility requirements:  Got to the Family Resource Center for more information about eligibility:

Application deadline:  Go to the Family Resource Center JK/K registration page:

Contact info:  Marguerite Hicks-Gyewu, Family Liaison,, 617.349.6454

The Possible Project

Program overview:  The Possible Project (TPP) is an experiential learning after-school program for high school students. TPP’s unique model integrates entrepreneurship, social emotional learning (SEL), science technology engineering art and mathematics (STEAM), and design thinking with individual pathways counseling to provide opportunities to students with untapped potential.

With established programming in five schools inGreater Boston, TPP works to close the skills and opportunity gap byteaching job-readiness and empowering students to be the CEOs of theirown life. TPP is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was founded bybiotech industry magnates Mark and Becky Levin in 2010.

Duration of program: 3 years

Who can apply:  Students who are enrolled at Cambridge Rindge & Latin, Prospect Hill Academy and Community Charter School of Cambridge

Eligibility requirements: Students who are in their sophomore year (10th grade)

Application deadline:

  • Spring Session (Jan 2018)
  • Summer Session (June 2018)
  • Fall Session (September 2018)

Contact info:  Kelsey Katahira

Just A Start Youth Build

Program overview: JAS Youth Build is a comprehensive youth development program for 16 to 24 year-old out of school youth that provides education leading to grade level increases and credential attainment (high school diploma or HiSET – formerly GED); career exploration and employment skills building (with a construction/facilities maintenance focus); and leadership and life skills training.

Through their housing community service work experience, youth gain occupational skills leading to HBI PACT and OSHA certificates (industry recognized credentials), in addition to applied academic skills and leadership development. JAS YouthBuild also provides comprehensive guidance, counseling, case management, and support services. Youth who complete the program transition to employment, training, and/or college and receive intensive follow-up support for at least one year, with additional support beyond.

Duration of program: 6-12 months

Who can apply: 16-24 year old residents of Metro North Boston (Chelsea, Cambridge, Somerville, Malden, Medford, Revere, Everett, etc.)

Eligibility requirements:

•    U.S. citizen/permanent resident
•    Unenrolled from a high school (may still apply if high school credential already obtained)

Application deadline: March 27, 2020 for May enrollment

Contact info: Victoria Perrakis, Program Manager Phone: 617.918.7506 Email:

Windsor Preschool

Program overview: The Windsor Preschool provides children 2.9yrs. to 5yrs. old and their families quality, nurturing and educational preschool experience.

Contact info: For more information, please contact the Enrollment Coordinator, Chandra Green at 617-349-6254.