Cultivating Mentors and Champion for Boston’s Youth

Cultivating Mentors and Champion for Boston’s Youth

The story of Pedro Cruz is one of personal determination, growth and successful community investment. As IBA’s former Youth Development Program Director, we are proud to celebrate Pedro’s accomplishments and the journey that has led him to become inaugural Director for the city’s Office of Youth Engagement & Advancement (OYEA),

Pedro first joined IBA’s Youth Development Program when he was a teenager in Villa Victoria, a housing development in Boston’s South End neighborhood. In our community, he found a safe haven and a sense of belonging. With the guidance of program mentors, this is also where Pedro discovered his passions. And reflecting on his experience, Pedro notes that IBA’s Youth Development Program was instrumental in shaping his life and career trajectory – leading him to where he is today.

From Program Participant to Youth Development Director

After finishing school in 2016, Pedro had the opportunity to join IBA as a Program Coordinator. Under the leadership of experienced team members, Pedro gained professional experience as a youth worker. Over time, his hard work earned him a promotion to Manager; which then became a stepping stone for Pedro to grow into the program’s Youth Development Director.

After seven years of professional advancement, Pedro can confidently say that “IBA is the perfect place for talented individuals to come work.” But beyond the growth opportunities that the organization offered him, Pedro feels especially grateful for the chance to work with the community’s youth.

“The best part of the job is being around long enough to witness the impact of your own work on a program participant,” Pedro admits. He feels privileged to have served youth who then went on to pursue a college education or landed great employment opportunities after high school. From helping students pass challenging classes to watching teens perform their original poetry for the first time, Pedro is proud to say that “being part of these crucial moments has been the highlight of my time at IBA.”

Embracing the Next Chapter

Pedro is confident that it was his work experience at IBA that prepared him for the new journey he is about to embark on. In his new role as inaugural Director of OYEA, Pedro plans to bring youth voices into decision-making processes across the city. His mission is to ensure that every young person has access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.

“There is no such thing as individual work when you serve the community,” Pedro remarks. “At IBA, I have been able to build many relationships with community partners, city officials, and local leaders” – and he certainly plans to leverage those connections in his new position at OYEA. Here, he will team up with local leaders and organizations to identify gaps in services and develop the programs to uplift Boston’s youth.

As Director of OYEA, Pedro is especially excited to expand the impact of his work from the South End community to the entire city. He’s looking forward to the city’s upcoming Youth Summit, a first of its kind event designed to celebrate Boston’s youth. As proof of the city’s commitment to supporting the next generation of leaders, the Summit will also give young people the opportunity to fill out a survey to help the city identify teen areas of need and opportunities for growth. Through these initiatives, Pedro hopes to provide our youth with the support and resources they need to reach their full potential.

A Full-Circle Moment

As Pedro says good-bye to the organization that helped him grow, the transition feels like the culmination of a process that started when he was just a teenager. “I am a prime example of what happens when a community invests in the residents,” he says. “IBA’s Youth Development Program gave me the platform to thrive as a teen and, later in life, it set the foundation for my career in public service.”

The entire IBA team is proud of Pedro’s accomplishments and the impact he continues to make in the lives of our youth community.