PBHA’s Franklin I-O Summer Program serves 80 children and their families from the Franklin Field and Franklin Hill housing developments in Dorchester. Franklin I-O offers seven weeks of summer programming to young people ages six to 13, engaging campers in an academic curriculum that builds self-esteem and supports young people to explore their identity, values, and physical world.
Like all of PBHA's Summer Urban Program camps, Franklin I-O engages campers in mornings of academic enrichment, afternoons of educational field trips, and artistic, cultural, and service-learning workshops throughout the week, along with two overnight camping trips and a day-long final trip.
Franklin I-O began in 1981 as the Intergenerational Outreach Summer Youth Program. It was an initiative launched by students in light of the lack of summer enrichment activities for the children of Harvard University’s dining hall workers. Many of those workers were residents of Dorchester, the neighborhood in which Franklin I-O currently operates. In the early 1990s, Dorchester, specifically the Franklin Field and Franklin Hill housing developments, saw a dramatic surge in gang violence. In response, Franklin I-O expanded its mission to address the problem of turf-based violence between the Franklin Field and Franklin Hill by creating an environment conducive to friendship, understanding, and conflict resolution for Franklin youth. Throughout the years and the changes the area has experienced, including the redevelopment of the Franklin Hill Housing development, Franklin I-O has continued to promote a stable, non-violent, empowered community. While the I-O in the program’s name has lost its original meaning, it remains as a reflection of commitment to the community and its voice, as well as a symbolic connection to the program’s past and the families who have shaped it.