EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 23, 2013

Editorial: ‘At-risk’ youth spit on city’s helping hand


Alicea, Mora and Saldana were “actually doing reasonably well” in the program, McCabe told reporter Jill Harmacinski.

“I’m actually kind of stunned. In the past week, we just put together a life plan with one of the these kids. He seemed really into it,” McCabe said.

Was armed robbery part of their “life plans”? It seems these young men were not “at risk.” They were “already gone.” It was the public that was at risk from their behavior. If they took any lesson from this program, it was likely that waving a gun at people and taking their money is a lot easier than earning it on your own.

With three alleged armed robbers to its credit in less than a year, the “Safe and Successful Youth Initiative” is not living up to its grandiose title. It illustrates the futility of throwing grant money and taxpayer dollars at people already established in a life of crime. There are plenty of kids in Lawrence who are doing the right thing — going to school, starting out in their working careers and obeying the law. Where’s the $800,000 grant to give them a well-earned hand up?

People like Alicea, Mora and Saldana have had every chance to lead upright, useful lives. Instead, they spit on that chance and laugh at those of us foolish enough to offer them a helping hand.

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