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Marta E. Rivera named Commissioner of Boston Centers for Youth & Families

Mayor Michelle Wu appointed Marta E. Rivera to be the permanent Commissioner of Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF). She has served as Interim Commissioner since September. 

At BCYF, Rivera leads the department’s mission to offer affordable programs for residents of all ages across the City. The goal is to provide quality programs that enrich the lives of residents and meet the needs of the community. Programming focuses on arts; community and civic engagement; education; and sports, fitness, recreation, and health.   

“Our Boston Centers for Youth and Families provide vital and enriching programming for residents of all ages throughout our city,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Marta grew up in Boston in our BCYF centers, and even worked at the BCYF Tobin as a teen. She brings a deep personal passion for creating opportunities to engage our young people and fostering community for every Bostonian. I’m grateful to Marta for her commitment to serving our city.”

Commissioner Rivera and I share a deep appreciation for the vital role that community centers play in the lives of youth, families and older adults in Boston and a commitment to making sure that our community centers are welcoming and engaging to all Boston residents,” said Chief of Human Services José F. Massó. “I am excited to have the opportunity to work closely with her."

“I am a proud product of BCYF. I have been involved with, and nurtured by, BCYF most of my life and I am so honored to be serving as Commissioner,” said Commissioner Marta E. Rivera. “I am excited for the work ahead and will work to ensure we have high quality, responsive and excellent services across all our centers.”

With 35 facilities across 15 neighborhoods, BCYF hosts programming serving all ages at community centers and pools. Membership is free and nearly 50,000 people participate in BCYF programming each year. Some of this programming includes adult education classes, afterschool programming, aquatics, Camp Joy, GIRLS Initiative, senior programming, vacation week activities, SOAR, a variety of summer programming, and teen programming. BCYF is also the largest employer of teens through the SuccessLink program, placing over 800 youth in jobs at community centers each summer.

Rivera has over 30 years of experience working in communities throughout Boston. Before serving as Interim Commissioner, she served as the Chief of Staff to the Health and Human Services (HHS) cabinet in Boston. In this role, Rivera worked closely with the cabinet Chief to promote the health and well-being of the city's residents, especially those with the greatest needs.

Rivera’s professional career has included work in the public and nonprofit sectors. Leveraging every opportunity to address and impact some of the most critical issues in Boston, she has held leadership positions at BCYF, Greater Boston Latino Network, and The Boston Foundation. Additionally, Rivera was a Parenting Educator with Families First Parenting Programs for 13 years. Families First provides training to parents who have limited access to parenting resources. In this role, she facilitated hundreds of workshops on a variety of topics including, positive discipline strategies, bullying, and the impact of violence on children. 

Born and raised in Boston, Rivera has been involved with numerous civic groups and organizations. Currently, she is the Board President of Sociedad Latina, a nonprofit organization that addresses pressing issues facing Latino youth today through a vast array of programs. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of The Food Project, an organization that aims to engage communities in building sustainable food systems.

Of Puerto Rican descent, she is deeply committed to issues affecting urban families, youth and the Latino community. Through her work and volunteer service, she strives to make a significant difference and contribution to the future of Boston.

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