Today the Red Hook Community Justice Center hosted an event to celebrate a unique partnership between the New York Juvenile Justice Corps, New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and generationOn to pilot a service-learning initiative for youth juvenile facilities. OCFS Commissioner, Gladys Carrion, addressed the audience and emphasized the value of partnerships and positive programming like this that keep their youth closer to home and in their communities.
This new initiative places Juvenile Justice Corps Members throughout OCFS facilities in Brooklyn and the Bronx. These highly-trained members facilitate and bring to life a service-learning curriculum designed by generationOn, “Be the Change New York.” The curriculum is based on a restorative justice model and is designed to re-engage youth through hands-on service projects and leadership opportunities. The Corps Members serve as both instructors and role models to young people in OCFS facilities. Over the course of a year, more than 100 young people in OCFS facilities have learned valuable life skills, built positive relationships, performed community service, and given back to their local communities.
Corps Members Raju Chowdhury and Alicia Grant alongside OCFS Commisioner Gladys Carrion, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Deputy Director and Project Director of the Red Hook Community Justice Center Jessica Colon and Julian Adler.
A packed audience with representatives from the New York City Department of Probation, OCFS, the New York State Unified Court System, the Legal Aid Society, and the New York City Law Department saw an entertaining and educational presentation by Corps Members about the new Service Learning initiative. New York State Senator, Velmanette Montgomery, and a representative from City Councilmember’s Sara Gonzelez’ office were also on hand to celebrate and address the group and emphasize the need to give New York’s children more opportunities to grow up in a safe community. This initiative has been so successful that it will be expanded over the next year with the help of three new Corps Members.