LYNN: YOUTH COMMUNITY ADVOCATES SPOKE TO STUDENTS AT BREED MIDDLE SCHOOL AS PART OF A STOP THE VIOLENCE EVENT

Daily Item BY GAYLA CAWLEY| November 20, 2018

LYNN — Go to school. Stay in school. Stay out of trouble.

That was the message delivered to an assembly hall of Breed Middle School students Tuesday morning at a Stop the Violence event, sponsored by Lynn Youth Street Advocacy.

Founded in 2014, the mission of the organization is to steer the city’s youth away from violence.

Item photo by Spenser R. Hasak

Item photo by Spenser R. Hasak

Saddled with the burden of growing up with two parents in jail, Ebony White could have chosen to go down the wrong path. Instead she chose to work hard, graduate from college, and channel her challenges into a career working with at-risk youth in the city.


As a child, White said her father would sell drugs. Her mother got into trouble along with him. When she was in fifth grade, her parents went to jail and didn’t get released until she was a senior in high school, leaving her to be raised by her grandmother.

“Nobody knew what I was dealing with at home,” White said. “School was always No. 1. No matter what I was going through, I would always come to school every day and get good grades and knew that I was going to college. I made that my goal.”

Basketball became her outlet. She played as a student at Breed Middle School and all four years at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute. During high school, she met girls on the team who also had family issues.

For the first time, she said she felt like she had the family she needed and started to get comfortable with the reality that her parents weren’t in her life, but she couldn’t allow their choices to affect her.

White, a Newbury College graduate and assistant director of youth services at Centerboard, encouraged Breed students to break the cycle and speak up if they’re struggling, as there are people there to help.

“I’m taking my story and the things I’ve experienced and I’ve turned those into positive things and I’m giving back to my community by putting services in place to help kids,” White said. “We all go through things. We all have things we experience on a day-to-day basis. Some are bigger than others. But I just want you to remember that people care about you.”

Anthony Seaforth, founder and director of the No Ceilings Movement, said it is a violent time in the city, but urged the kids to get involved in afterschool programs, keep busy and stay off the streets.

LYNN — Go to school. Stay in school. Stay out of trouble.

That was the message delivered to an assembly hall of Breed Middle School students Tuesday morning at a Stop the Violence event, sponsored by Lynn Youth Street Advocacy.

Founded in 2014, the mission of the organization is to steer the city’s youth away from violence.

Saddled with the burden of growing up with two parents in jail, Ebony White could have chosen to go down the wrong path. Instead she chose to work hard, graduate from college, and channel her challenges into a career working with at-risk youth in the city.

As a child, White said her father would sell drugs. Her mother got into trouble along with him. When she was in fifth grade, her parents went to jail and didn’t get released until she was a senior in high school, leaving her to be raised by her grandmother.

“Nobody knew what I was dealing with at home,” White said. “School was always No. 1. No matter what I was going through, I would always come to school every day and get good grades and knew that I was going to college. I made that my goal.”

Basketball became her outlet. She played as a student at Breed Middle School and all four years at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute. During high school, she met girls on the team who also had family issues.

For the first time, she said she felt like she had the family she needed and started to get comfortable with the reality that her parents weren’t in her life, but she couldn’t allow their choices to affect her.

White, a Newbury College graduate and assistant director of youth services at Centerboard, encouraged Breed students to break the cycle and speak up if they’re struggling, as there are people there to help.

“I’m taking my story and the things I’ve experienced and I’ve turned those into positive things and I’m giving back to my community by putting services in place to help kids,” White said. “We all go through things. We all have things we experience on a day-to-day basis. Some are bigger than others. But I just want you to remember that people care about you.”

Anthony Seaforth, founder and director of the No Ceilings Movement, said it is a violent time in the city, but urged the kids to get involved in afterschool programs, keep busy and stay off the streets.

“If you focus on school first, success will follow,” Seaforth said. “(With the) violence in Lynn, what comes from that is people who have risen above it and have become successful.”

At No Ceilings, Seaforth works with student athletes who aspire to go professional, but the biggest thing holding them back is their schoolwork. The academic mentoring program makes sure their focus is on school.

Seaforth said he was one of those student athletes. He never took school seriously until he got to the ninth grade and was told he couldn’t play football because he didn’t have the grades. Tenth grade presented the same scenario, which prompted him to focus hard on school and boost his grades.

“When I was a kid, I wanted to be in the NFL and it stopped really quickly when I didn’t do what I needed to do in school,” Seaforth said. “But once I got back on track, I had the opportunity to go to college, was very successful and played football all four years.”