Department of Youth Services
Previously, Sako Long was the Director of Reentry and Outreach at UTEC overseeing the Streetworker Program and Reentry efforts for Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill. Sako started his career at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Lowell as a part-time staff to help coordinate an after-school program called the A.D.A.M. Project (Awareness and Development of Adolescent Males). While working with the A.D.A.M. project, he also volunteered at UTEC facilitating peace conversations with gangs in the city of Lowell. Sako was then hired as a Streetworker at UTEC while also continuing to work on his professional development and making Lowell a safer place for all to live. After Sako's 12 years with UTEC during which he wore many hats, he went on to work for the Cambodia Mutual Assistance Association as their Director of Programs for 2 years managing and implementing new walk-in services, youth development programs and summer camps, and their young Professional Program. Sako later went to work at the Coalition for a Better Acre as their Workforce Development Director and then Director of Programs overseeing all of CBA programs before returning to UTEC.
Sako was born in Cambodia and came to America at the age 4. His family first settled in Revere, MA, later moving to Lowell in 1985 to join the growing Cambodian community. Growing up in Lowell during that time frame was difficult for many Cambodian youth and because of the environment that Sako grew up in, he got involved with gangs at a young age. Sako was in and out of juvenile detention as a teen and eventually ended up serving 4 years in jail as a young adult.
In January of 2010 the Lowell Sun named him “Top 25 Most Fascinating People of Lowell”. He’s been awarded the “Spirit of Youth Award” by Reclaiming Youth International. He was also awarded the “May Takayanagi Making Waves award” by Asian American Resource. Sako worked with Gerry Leone from Middlesex DA’s office to create a documentary call “On Track” to help youth understand the gang lifestyle and hope that they make the positive changes in their life or prevent them from joining a gang, the documentary was given to all the school district in Middlesex County. Sako has traveled across the United States to present his story and also share the success he’s had with working with young adults.