Teens get 'tough job' in Boston fire academy over summer months

BOSTON — Some Boston teens are spending the month of August expanding their horizons through firsthand experience in the Boston Teen Fire Academy.

There, the teens will learn how to get a job done and how to do it together.

“Firefighting is a tough job and it’s not easy,” Kevin Melo said of what he learned in the program. “[We] learn about fires, learn about consequences and learn to be a great leader.”

Firefighter Sharon Galloway says one motto got her through the academy.

“The sky’s the limit. ‘I can’t’ doesn’t exist,” Galloway said. “I joined the fire department because I was told I couldn’t do the job being the youngest of 11. I ran with that and said, ‘yes I can.’ No matter what your size is, there’s nothing you can’t do.”

And it's that courage she's now passing along to the 40 teenagers learning from her this month.

“Life skills -- whether they’re on the fire department or not – working as a team, being responsible, taking initiative,” Galloway explained.

The Teen Academy is a partnership between Boston Fire and social services agency, Action for Boston Community Development.

It exposes kids to several public safety fields.

ABCD Program Coordinator Monique Mitchell says the academy broadens the teens’ expectations for themselves.

“[Through] firefighting, law enforcement, law and government as well as emergency medical services area,” she said.

She says they also foster greater respect for those out there helping others.

The academy is a paid summer job for the students participating. The student works about 20 to 22 hours a week.

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