Dot centers get summer jobs funds

St. Peter’s Teen Center will be one of 16 programs receiving $100,000 for summer jobs for at-risk youth, Attorney General Martha Coakley said this week. The funding overall will lead to the creation of 64 jobs for Bay State teens, according to her office. The money comes on top of $1.5 million in grants awarded in December.

Dorchester’s Bird Street Community Center will also be receiving funding, as will programs in Allston, Jamaica Plain, Chelsea, Fall River, Lowell, Methuen, Springfield, Worcester, New Bedford and Holyoke.

The grants, funded through settlements the attorney general’s office obtains against pharmaceutical and health care companies, including Merck Vioxx, Eli Lilly and Pfizer, are part of a program called Project Youth Employment Solutions (YES) within the attorney general’s office.

At St. Peter’s, students hired because of the grant funding will teach Cape Verdean dance to their peers.

Coakley, Mayor Thomas Menino and other local elected officials were scheduled to tour the center and announce the funding as the Reporter went to press.

Run by Catholic Charities Greater Boston, the teen center focuses on teens aged 15 to 19 from the Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhood. The center has 200 members, with 80 participating in educational recreational activities every day, according to Catholic Charities.

“As we have unfortunately seen funding for youth jobs dwindle during this difficult economy, it is more important than ever that we find additional ways to support these programs and invest in our children,” Coakley said in a statement. “These youth jobs offer teens an opportunity to work as part of a team, to give back to their community, and to help support themselves and their families. As we head into the summer months, these jobs also help get kids off the streets and offer positive alternatives to violence.”