Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Red Hook Youth Baseball

On April 16th, 2011 the Red Hook Youth Baseball League entered its 14th Season with Opening Day ceremonies at the ballfields. The League is a unique collaboration between the criminal justice system and community members made possible through the service of the New York Juvenile Justice Corps. Corps members have a hand in every aspect of the league from recruitment and fundraising to coaching the younger divisions. The League brings together local justice system employees, business owners, and residents as coaches and team sponsors. AmeriCorps has had a presence in the League since its inception. In 1996, the League was founded by an AmeriCorps member and resident of Red Hook as an effort to create recreational activities for young people and take advantage of underutilized baseball diamonds in the neighborhood. Today, more than 150 boys and girls, dozens of community volunteers and parents fill the diamonds every Saturday. Thanks to generous donations, the League is able to offer the opportunity to play free of charge to participants. Fees charged by other leagues in Brooklyn are often prohibitive to families. True to the AmeriCorps spirit, Red Hook baseball is about more than balls, strikes and outs; everyone involved works to instill in the young ballplayers the highest standards of sportsmanship, leadership and respect.
Corps member coaches a young ballplayer.

Summer Reading Initiative in Red Hook

On Friday, May 20th the New York Juvenile Justice Corps hosted a book fair in Coffey Park in Red Hook to encourage summer reading amongst kids and teens. The event was an effort to prevent the "Summer Slide" which happens when young people go all summer without opening a book and results in teachers spending up to 2 months every fall reviewing lessons from the previous school year. Research shows that students who don't read over the summer enter the school year behind their peers and are more likely to drop out. Corps members organized the book give-away because the best predictor of whether a student will read over the summer is whether they have access to books. The event was the culmination of a book drive which collected over 1,000 books for children and young adults. Corps members did outreach to local schools, community centers and after-school programs to draw young people the the event. Corps members gave out hundreds of books and a representative from the Red Hook Public Library signed up young people for library cards and the summer reading program.

Corps members helped children find good books for the summer.

Monday, May 16, 2011

AIDS Walk New York

Early morning showers and thunder did not stop the New York Juvenile Justice Corps from joining 40,000 other New Yorkers on Sunday, May 15th to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS and raise funds to end the epidemic. The walk is the largest AIDS fundraising event in the world and supports organizations throughout the tri-state area which provide care and advocacy for men and women living with HIV. Corps members joined forces with the Greenpoint and Brownsville Youth Courts, friends, and family members for the 10K walk through Central Park and the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The team proudly contributed over $1,500 toward the cause though generous donations from friends, family members, colleagues, and several wildly successful Greenpoint Youth Court bake sales. In the months leading up to the walk, several Corps members worked behind the scenes at the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) headquarters to prepare for the day - phonebanking, recruiting volunteers, and coordinating day-of logistics. 

Corps members approach the start line.

The Juvenile Justice Corps team brought together first-time walkers with Corps members who have walked for years in honor of loved ones lost.
We did it!