“I became a better person and I learned to value the little things [...]”

“I became a better person and I learned to value the little things [...]”

IBA’s Youth Development Program (YDP) is a safe space for young adults located in the South End of Boston. This program allows participants to be around other youth experiencing the same difficulties. Together, they find solutions with the support of professionals in mental health, community leadership, arts, and finances. One participant in this program is Lilly, who received the support that enabled her to handle conflict resolutions with peers and stay on track in school to advance to the next grade level. Participants sometimes leave the program for different reasons, but they are always welcomed back, as was the case with Lilly. Three months after leaving the program, she fell behind in school, but she returned to YDP and successfully worked to get her grades back up and on track.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Lirializ Catalina Quintana Ortiz, I’m 16, I like to play sports (basketball), and I listen to music to stay focused and calm me down .

How did you hear about IBA’s YDP?

I heard about IBA through my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. They kept sharing good things about the program and I wanted to experience the same.

What’s your favorite aspect of the YDP? Why did you decide to get involved?

My favorite aspect was that we learned how to better communicate and better understand others. Being in YDP helped me stay out of drama and I was calmer being in the program. They helped me learn how to manage my emotions and how to better use my words.

What impact has this program had on your life?

I became a better person, and I learned to value the little things in life and to never take life for granted. It also helped with my writing skills and art skills. It helped me express myself in many different ways.

Do you have any plans after finishing the YDP?

I want to take what I learned from the program and apply it to my life, using my knowledge to help others and make a change in the community.

Would you recommend IBA’s Youth Development Program to others?

Yes, I would recommend this program to others, and encourage others to join. I think this program helps youth learn more about being a youth and what it means to be a youth in this community. Participating in this program also helps young students prepare to be a young adult in this world, with financial issues, communication, etc.

For more information about this program, please contact Pedro Cruz at To donate to the Youth Development Program or other IBA programs, please click HERE or contact