La Colaborativa is a hub for youth engagement and opportunity in the City of Chelsea. Youth programs serve young people and focus on community connection, civic engagement, job readiness, leadership development, cultural pride, and career exploration. Youth are leaders within the organization, with plenty of opportunities to build new skills, be heard on the issues impacting their lives, and explore and celebrate their cultures of origin. All youth and their families receive wraparound supports to promote family stability which enables young people to thrive as learners and leaders. 

La Colaborativa provides wraparound services to youth enrolled in our programs to ensure their stability and success. These services include:

  • Weekly mental health group session for all youth workers

  • One-on-one mental health counseling sessions

  • Free academic tutoring

  • Academic/career/college mentoring

  • Financial literacy training

  • Arts and cultural programs

  • Resource navigation, (housing, SNAP benefits, utilities support etc.)

  • Food support

a masked individual administering a vaccine to another masked individual

Current Youth Programs

Youth Jobs

Each year, La Colaborativa hires and trains 200+ youth ages 14-24 through our Youth Jobs program. Youth can intern at La Colaborativa in one of our community engagement programs, or with an external employer partner. Local employers support our program and community by hosting interns, providing professional mentorship, and enabling young people to explore potential careers. Youth Jobs are available for summer (6 week) or school year (25 week) sessions. 

Summer Youth Jobs

Summer internships are for 6 weeks in July-August. Youth work 25-30 hours weekly and earn an hourly rate. La Colaborativa provides intensive work readiness training to participating youth to prepare them for successful internship placements with one of our programs or dozens of external employer partners. This highly popular program serves as many as 200 youth each summer and is offered in partnership with the City of Chelsea, MassHire Metro North Workforce Investment Board, and Commonwealth Corporation.

School Year Youth Jobs

School year internships last for 25 weeks from October – April. Youth work up to 10 hours weekly outside of school hours and earn an hourly rate. La Colaborativa provides intensive work readiness training throughout the year, along with leadership development opportunities, case management and family engagement to holistically support our young people. School year internships are currently offered in STEM, Business, Youth Organizing (RIOT Squad), and Recreation and Culture.

STEM Internship

La Colaborativa’s STEM Internship is designed to enhance and increase the capability of Chelsea youths to succeed in STEM fields through projects that develop core Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics foundation skills such as data collection, data analysis, and data organization through project based learning. Focusing on revitalizing the Chelsea community through the lens of Sustainability and Social Justice. The learning environment  provides them with a unique, holistic understanding of the impacts of engineering projects on the local Chelsea community. The program is structured to enable the youth to identify issues in their community and work collaboratively to identify and execute scientific solutions.

Entrepreneurship Internship

La Colaborativa’s Entrepreneurship Internship is designed for individuals who demonstrate interest in gaining hands-on experience starting, running, and scaling their own company. Entrepreneurship interns not only gain core business skills but also implement what they have learned through creating real companies within the Chelsea community and beyond. Previous interns have created car-washing companies, clothing companies, jewelry companies, and graphic design companies.

Youth Organizing RIOT Squad

La Colaborativa’s RIOT Squad is designed to empower young people as agents for change in their community and beyond. This program consists of comprehensive training on issues of social justice, community organizing and creative, youth-led change. Youth in this program are expected to design and implement projects that serve their community, lead and speak at protests, and create awareness around issues of injustice by uplifting marginalized voices in local decision-making. To be successful, interns in this program must demonstrate strong public speaking and people skills and most importantly, show a passion for political engagement, creativity and community organizing. 

Youth organizers have been key leadership voices in La Colaborativa’s organizing for housing justice during the pandemic. They created a video featuring youth voices to raise awareness of the housing crisis and its impact on young people.

Desea Sonar

Desea Sonar is a free Saturday arts and cultural exploration for youth ages 10-14. Youth can choose from Guitar, Voice & Percussion (offered in partnership with Eureka Ensemble) or Hip Hop Culture, Music & Art (offered in partnership with Basement Trybe).

Soccer Without Borders

In partnership with the organization Soccer without Borders, La Colaborativa delivers a family-friendly and community-oriented soccer program to over 60 boys and girls ages 6-12. The children are engaged in soccer skills training as well as team-building, dialogue and art activities with the help of La Colaborativa youth leaders who are trained as assistant coaches.

Carpentry Pre-Apprenticeship Program

This program gives Chelsea youth ages 16-24 a direct pathway into careers in the building trades. Offered in partnership with our local unions, youth develop leadership and job readiness skills at La Colaborativa and receive technical, hands-on training in carpentry through the North Atlantic States Carpentry Training Fund (NASCTF). Youth in this program receive technical training in partnership with the North Atlantic States Carpentry Training Fund and additional professional development and leadership skills in-house. Youth that thrive in this exploratory program are encouraged to apply for a formal paid apprenticeship with the union.

Sign Up for Updates

La Colaborativa regularly sends out updates on youth programs, including announcements when job applications are open, updates on youth employment, events, and scholarships. If you are interested in receiving updates on youth programs, please sign up through this form.

Recent News

Hear from Gladys Vega on the Giving Done Right Podcast

Hear from Gladys Vega on the Giving Done Right Podcast

In the season 3 premiere of Giving Done Right, La Colaborativa Executive Director Gladys Vega talks with hosts Phil Buchanan and Grace Nicolette about our community, the pandemic, and what it truly means to have "boots on the ground." She discusses La Colaborativa’s...

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