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Youth Development

Our Vigorous Youth mission is to support MFFC's mission and vision through food access programming, bike education and advocacy, and professional and personal development workshops.


Vigorous Youth

Location: Mattapan, MA

Length: July 9th - August 19th

Compensation: $15/hr

At MFFC, the youth who work with us are integral to the vision of a healthy and thriving Mattapan
community. The Vigorous Youth, youth ages 14-21, have an exciting responsibility of creating space
and advocating for positive changes in Mattapan. This means giving their ideas and perspectives on
food and nutrition equity, health and other fitness related activities, environmental factors that

support a healthy community, and how we travel around the city. Through perspective sharing, youth
are given opportunities to advocate and plan activities that include the voices of the community,
more specifically other young people, to make these positive changes a reality.

Vigorous Youth Peer Leader

Location: Mattapan, MA

Length: June 18th - August 20th

Compensation: $17/hr

As the Peer Leader of the Vigorous Youth, you will help make sure the program is a success by
working with the Youth Development & Transportation Advocacy Program Manager through working on administrative tasks, guiding food systems workshops, planning and participating in events like gardening and biking, and research + leadership

Vigorous Youth


Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition founded the Vigorous Youth group in the fall of 2008 to serve residents from ages 14-21 years old. The program provides leadership and volunteer opportunities to Boston youth in middle school, high school, and college. Vigorous Youth are employed during peak season (July - August, January - April) or provided a stipend during our off season (May - June, September - December).


They focus on their professional and personal development, and learn about their role in improving the physical and food environment in Mattapan.

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Mattapan on Wheels

Basic Bike Repair Workshops

Catch us at the Mattapan Square Farmers Market every Saturday!

Farm Stand + Gardening

Every Thursday
July 8th to August 12th

Mattapan on Wheels

Founded in 2011 by our Vigorous Youth, Mattapan on Wheels is a free, youth-led day of biking that draws neighbors and residents from all over Boston, especially those of colour.


The annual event is committed to developing youth leadership through increasing bike access, safety, and visibility of the biking community in Mattapan. Free bike rentals + helmets make it easy for families to discover the joy of biking together. A choice of three routes helps to accommodate people of all ages and comfort levels.


Most importantly, youth are given an active role in planning + decision making, boosting pride in their neighborhood and shining a positive light on the community. In 2019 the youth debuted the first ever basic bike repair workshops. 

Basic Bike Repair Workshops

Biking is the perfect physical activity option for family friendly activities as well as an alternative form of transportation. But MFFC recognized that there are several barriers preventing Mattapan residents from biking in Mattapan! One includes having a broken bike. Our youth led a 5 week free bike repair workshop showing local residents how to perform basic bike repair!


Along with bike repair, the series covers topics such as street riding, healthy eating, bike safety, what to wear, the anatomy of a bike, ABC Check, and much more. These workshops are geared towards those who want to know the basics when riding and maintaining their bike. In addition to leading the workshops, The Vigorous Youth researched material and created the information taught.

Farm Stand + Gardening

Located in front of the Mattapan Community Health Center, the farm stand is run entirely by the youth. The youth work on their marketing, selling, customer service, cash recording, and product display skills, all while promoting healthy eating. Produce is donated by Brookwood Community Farm in Canton.

Our youth help maintain the Kennedy Playground Children's Garden by planting seedlings and cleaning out the plot as necessary. Activities are held with families to engage young children + allow them to use their five senses when exploring the garden. The Vigorous Youth also helped establish the Woolson Street Community Garden in response to the violence that took place on Woolson Street in 2010.


Special Projects

Our Vigorous Youth are not only interested in food and fitness. Sometimes they take on issues that are important to them​

Currently, they are working on creating a cookbook! The cookbook features recipes gathered by our youth from ingredients grown by local Mattapan farmers. Using inspiration from home recipes, including Caribbean and Haitian dishes, our youth are in the process of creating a cookbook with dishes that they enjoy. The cookbook will be published later this summer, make sure to get your copy!


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