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Youth center opens in Lynn

  • Father Wellington Oliveira organizes children after lunch at the new youth center in St. Joseph Parish in Lynn, launched this summer to serve the children of the cityís immigrant community. Pilot photo/Mark Labbe
  • Children take part in activities in the centerís game room. Pilot photo/Mark Labbe

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LYNN -- School is out for the summer, but at a new youth and young adult center at St. Joseph Parish in Lynn, the learning hasn't stopped.

The center, headed by pastor Father Israel Rodriguez and Father Wellington Oliveira, parochial-vicar of the parish and center coordinator, is currently running a five-week program for middle school and high school students in the area.

The free program offers English as a second language classes to the students, many, if not all, of whom are children of immigrants or immigrants themselves. The classes are designed to help them gain a better grasp of the English language.

Middle school students, ranging from those in grades four to eight, are able to attend the program during the day, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. High school students may attend at night, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from around 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Speaking to The Pilot at St. Joseph Parish on July 21, the end of the first week of the program, Father Oliveira noted there are about 60 middle school students and around 15 high school students attending the program.

The new center and the program, Father Oliveira said, are products of Cardinal SeŠn P. O'Malley's love of the immigrant populations in the Archdiocese of Boston and his commitment to keeping youth and young adults safe.

"Cardinal SeŠn O'Malley is the heart of this project," said Father Oliveira, who was just ordained to the priesthood in May.

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