‘Field of Dreams' Event at Fenway to Benefit Teens

At just 17, Jalen Martinez knows what his calling is in life.

"I hope to be a police officer, eventually a detective," he said.

As one of three kids raised by his mother and grandmother in Boston's South End, he saw first-hand the difference police officers can make in the community.

"I've lost a couple of friends to gun violence, I lost a family member," said Martinez. "So just being able to show my friends and other people that you can make it out, you don't have to walk down the street scared every day."

Now, Martinez is getting the chance to live out that dream.

As part of the Summer Works program at Action for Boston Community Development, or ABCD, Jalen will be attending a police academy this summer in the program's Criminal Justice/FBI field.

He's one of 500 teens getting real world experience while benefitting their community.

"The kids get off the streets, they've got work in the neighborhoods, they're helping in the neighborhoods," said ABCD President and CEO John Drew. "They learn skills, they feel good about themselves."

And to fund the Summer Works program, businesses and community leaders donate thousands of dollars to play ball at Fenway Park, as part of ABCD's annual Field of Dreams benefit games.

"To be on the field, it doesn't matter how successful you are, you're a kid again," said fashion designer Joseph Abboud.

Abboud is co-chairing the event this year and says he's thrilled to be able to give back to the kids and the city where he grew up.

"They're not sure where they're going to go," said Abboud. "But the opportunities are endless, and I think this helps give them the confidence."

ABCD's 21st annual Field of Dreams softball tournament starts at 7 a.m. Friday at Fenway Park.

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