Street minister for peace

Serving high risk kids is an investment in our future

In his role as a minister, Donald Osgood has been mentoring youth for decades and directly working with victims of street violence, since 2014, Osgood was employed by the city of Boston serving on the Trauma Response Team. Recently, he’s left that job with the city and accepted a new position as an advocate with the Louis D Brown Peace Institute. Osgood is also a co-founder of “Gateway Ministries” with his spouse, Vanessa Osgood.

What follows is an interview with Osgood who shares his experiences on why teens take to street violence and what helps curb it, as well as his opinion of Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and the new Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins.

Tell us about your background and work.

“Good evening Mike, always a pleasure.

I was born in Boston Massachusetts, and raised in the South End of Boston, marrying Vanessa in 2002, we currently live in Dorchester, Massachusetts with two of our six children. I attended grade school in the Boston Public School system and later studied accounting at Bay State College.

I managed several locations for Jiffy Lube, from 2004-2012, and it was during this time that my informal training for pastoring and leading was being refined like the high quality oil we sold our customers.

Since then, I’ve been working with high risk teens as a mentor and a minister, it’s the greatest profit margin, better than Jiffy Lube.

Working for the City of Boston’s Trauma Response Team through Boston Centers for Youth & Families, my responsibilities were responding at local hospitals to shootings and stabbings, violence. This trauma response team assists victims, their families, hospital staff, security and other partners in the City of Boston. The team offers liaison services to victims.

I’ve recently left the Trauma Response Team for the Louis D Brown Peace Institute. It’s the same mission. We work with families who’ve lost loved ones to violence. We are a healing, teaching and learning center. I’ve been in this role for a few months now.”

Why does it seem like we are seeing increasing numbers of shootings on the streets of Boston?

“The streets of Boston are pretty complex, we have failing schools, high rates of homelessness and too many guns on the street. These are issues that are affecting our youth. Many households are barely making it so parents are working many hours and not home. The youth in turn aren’t feeling loved or don’t understand the sacrifices being made and end up in trouble.”

What would help?

“Teaching our young people better coping skills, teaching life and conflict resolution skills. Mental health screening and job readiness training.“

How do you feel about Mayor Walsh's leadership on the violence issue?

“To be honest I think Mayor Walsh is a great guy, but I feel like he could brush up in these areas. I managed (Jiffy Lube) for eight years and it’s no easy task, you have to have thick skin and not take things personal and this is big, you need to be willing to take into consideration what people are saying so you can be a better leader by words and action. Doing this, ensure you make sound decisions and choose the right person for particular roles. You won’t look to make friends but to do a great job. All of that to say I feel he could do a better job and make folks see he cares.”

New Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, she's still facing pushback from law enforcement groups about her plans, what do you think all that is about?

“I’m looking forward to Rachael’s role as Suffolk DA, she has an uphill battle because folks don’t like change. I think she will do a great job in choosing who to keep and who to replace. I’m also confident she will get her vision across to everyone especially law enforcement.”

Anything else you want to share with readers?

“I think if the community would do more homework on our candidates, we’ll have a better quality of life. We will choose people that have our best interest who will fight for us. Support the new politicians in the their roles, but hold all accountable old and new.”

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The Young Jurks this Saturday, two special guests. At 6pm, I’ll be joined by Kristin Johnson for a chat with Julie Kramer of Indie617 about her photo exhibit “From the Basement Archives, the Ghosts of WFNX” and at 7pm Tito Jackson returns to discuss the TILT program that offers financing and support to cannabis applicants in Massachusetts that have been disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs. Watch live on The Young Jurks facebook page. Don’t miss it!