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Heat Emergency in Boston
Mayor Wu announced a heat emergency in the City of Boston through Wednesday, July 17. Cooling centers will be open at 14 BCYF community centers Monday through Wednesday, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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Our work at Boston Centers for Youth & Families

At BCYF, we've been enhancing the lives of Boston residents for almost 40 years.

Boston residents advocated for using school buildings after hours as community centers in the 1970s. This idea turned into Boston Community Schools in 1972.

We’ve grown over the years, and became Boston Centers for Youth & Families in 2001. Today, we are the City of Boston’s largest youth and human services agency.

What we do

We offer affordable programs for residents of all ages across the City. Our goal is to provide quality programs that enrich the lives of residents and meet the needs of the community.

Our ACES Framework helps guide us to make sure our programs are focused around:

  • arts
  • community and civic engagement
  • education, and
  • sports, fitness, recreation, and health.

Key programs


We offer adult education classes at many of our community centers. They're great for people looking to improve their English skills or get ready for high school equivalency testing. The classes are focused on the students, and take place at times that are convenient for working adults.


Nearly all of our community centers offer afterschool programming for youth ages 6-12 that give youth a safe place to go and get help with homework and participate in enriching activities.


Boston residents of all ages can learn to swim and enjoy activities and classes in our many pools. Each year hundreds of Boston youth join and compete in our swim league.


Our Camp Joy program has been around since 1946. It offers enriching and fun activities for children and young adults with special needs both in a 4-week summer program and in a Saturday program during the school year.


(Growth, Intervention, Respect, Leadership, and Service for Girls)

We welcome girls of all ages and backgrounds to join us in becoming healthy, strong, confident, and successful women.  The GIRLS Initiative runs Girls Leadership Corps, Girls Nights, and helps our community centers develop and provide a welcoming environment and exciting programs for girls.


Senior Programs
Today’s seniors want to be active, learn new things, and keep up with technology. Our most popular programs reflect that. BCYF Senior Programs take place in all BCYF centers. We also have two stand alone senior centers and five community centers with dedicated senior spaces.
We work with youth, their families, and community members to help prevent youth violence. We've been mediating conflict and supporting Boston youth in need for more than 25 years. Streetworkers also connect youth and families with important resources.

We offer many summer activities at our community centers across the City of Boston. Our programs include:

  • summer camps and day programs
  • swimming
  • sports programs
  • neighborhood block parties
  • drop-in activities
  • summer jobs

These activities support healthy development and learning and encourage participants to build on their natural energy and creativity.


Our teen centers and programs help youth prepare for school, work, and life. Our teen programs aim to foster self worth, belonging and membership, responsibility and autonomy, physical and mental health, civic and social ability, and intellectual ability.

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