While the Boys and Girls Club was important to a child’s development when Mr. Mariano was a Club Kid at Lincoln Square, he says it is more important today than ever before. The Club provides today’s kids with a sense of place and neighborhood, a safe haven where they can have fun and play with kids their own ages in a wholesome environment. The world today is missing the stability and safety of the old neighborhoods, which is where the Boys and Girls Club comes in by filling that vital niche for today’s youth.
Mr. Mariano’s concern with the welfare of youth has infused much of his political life and has been at the heart of his role as a servant of the Worcester community. He entered politics with a run for a seat on the Worcester School Committee in 1974, acquiring a seat in 1977, and attained a seat on the Worcester City Council in 1981. He then went on to become an extremely popular Mayor of Worcester between 1993 and 2001. Aside from revamping and beautifying the city, he spent much of his time as Mayor addressing the problems of young people. He spearheaded the focus on gang and youth violence and at-risk youth in Worcester and led the effort in 2000 to create a successful summer jobs program for at-risk youth. He also enlisted the help of college students in the Mayor’s College Clean-Up program, which collected over a quarter-of-a-million tons of illegal debris over a five year period and involved thousands of students from area colleges.
Mr. Mariano has continued his service to Worcester by becoming the Executive Director of the Worcester Housing Authority in 2003, where his focus has been on providing safe and clean housing for thousands of families in the city.