Born and raised in South Boston, Victor Baldassari is grateful to the West Broadway Task Force (WBTF) for his first job as a youth worker. Before long he was running the West Broadway Youth Center, and he stayed on until 2011. “It was the greatest job ever.”
For a time in the late 90s, the overdose and suicide rate among South Boston teens was four times the national average. Victor was on the frontlines, always there for the youth and their families.
When he was a teen, he found sports to be a great outlet, and through the years he became a manager, coach, and certified professional basketball referee. Now a supervisor with the City of Boston’s Water & Sewer Commission, he continues to volunteer, most recently with the Kickoff for Kids Youth Flag Football league which his friend Allison Baker launched last year. The co-ed league for 6- to 13-year-olds has doubled in size from 200 players to 400. “It’s a great group of people behind Kickoff for Kids,” he said, also crediting Al Mallon, Jackie Beggan, Lily Joyce, Hailey Dillon, Ashley Miller, and Lisa Maki, and sending a special shout-out to the DCR’s Bobby Ferrara.
Reflecting on the loss of many friends from his youth, Victor feels lucky to have gotten his start as a youth worker, noting that that opportunity sparked his desire to help others. “I paid it forward – and I keep paying it forward. That’s how I’ve always lived my life.”