Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Juvenile Justice Corps members give tribute to volunteerism in the wake of Hurricane Sandy at AmeriCorps Kick-Off in Albany

New York Juvenile Justice Corps members awoke bright and early this morning to make a 6:00 AM bus to Albany for the annual AmeriCorps kick-off event hosted by the New York State Commission on National and Community Service. More than 1,000 AmeriCorps members from across New York State gathered at the Empire State Plaza for a jam-packed agenda, filled with fun, reflection, and of course, service. 

Among the highlights of the day were Juvenile Justice Corps members being selected to deliver a tribute to AmeriCorps service in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and share some personal testimony from their relief efforts in Red Hook. The full text of the speech delivered by Corps members Salam Mustafa, Pete Martin and Claudia Choi is below.

Additionally, Corps members took the AmeriCorps oath of service, pledging to "get things done for America!" A video of Corps members reciting the pledge is below.

Finally, Corps members had the opportunity to mingle with AmeriCorps programs from other parts of the state such as Buffalo, Rochester and Long Island during the service fair. Corps members also participated in numerous service projects with other AmeriCorps programs, including gift-wrapping holiday presents for children of military families and writing letters to service men and women abroad. Photos from these projects are displayed in the slideshow below.

Congratulations, New York Juvenile Justice Corps members on a fantastic start to your service year! We could not be more thrilled to have you aboard!   

“A Tribute to AmeriCorps Service in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy”

Three weeks ago today, millions of New Yorkers woke to find their community forever changed. Many lost loved ones to the storm. Flooded neighborhoods were barely recognizable. And lifetimes’ worth of worldly possessions were lost in corrosive seawater. In addition, millions of people were left for weeks without power, heat, or running water. In the face of heartbreak and devastation, we witnessed something powerful: volunteers mobilized, donations poured in, and communities learned what they were really made of, as they pulled together to rebuild.

Good morning everyone. My name is Salam Mustafa and I am here with Claudia Choi and Pete Martin. We are members of the New York Juvenile Justice Corps, which is based in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Red Hook is a small waterfront community that was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Our offices were flooded with 5 feet of water and remained without power until last week.

Although most of us hadn’t set foot in Red Hook before last month, because Red Hook has had an AmeriCorps program for the past 18 years, our bright shirts immediately made us a welcome and familiar sight in the neighborhood. I want to share one story to illustrate that:  

Two days after the storm when it was first reported the National Guard would be coming with food and water, Red Hook residents lined up for hours in near freezing temperatures, hoping the goods would arrive before dark. As frustrations mounted, we walked up and down the line trying to reassure everyone that help was on its way. Toward the back of the line, a woman caught sight of us and called out “AmeriCorps is here! Now you know it’s gonna be okay!” That made us feel very proud, but also humbled, realizing the powerful legacy we’ve inherited by joining AmeriCorps.

We are here today to recognize the many AmeriCorps members who rose in service after Sandy. The subway shutdown in New York City could not stop us from being at the frontlines of relief efforts from day 1. We rode bikes, took multiple busses, and drove across town on that last quarter tank of gas – whatever it took to get there!

Seeing that we were in need, AmeriCorps members from across the country also organized and deployed to New York. They came from Missouri, Vermont, Montana, Washington State, Minnesota, Iowa, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico  – not to mention hundreds of FEMA Corps members who came up from Washington DC just a few weeks into their service year!

Can we see a show of hands, how many in this room have been a part of Sandy relief efforts in the past 3 weeks? Look around… That’s amazing! Give yourselves a round of applause!
In this room alone are AmeriCorps members who have supported countless relief efforts across the state. We wish we could share all of your stories but only have time to give few brief snapshots here today.

In the hardest hit sections of New York City, Civic Corps and Juvenile Justice Corps members worked side by side with the National Guard to distribute essential items- including water, ready-made meals, and wool blankets. Corps members of City Year led craft-making, and fun activities for children while they waited with their parents in long distribution lines.

Corps members went door to door in New York City Housing Authority developments, checking on seniors and homebound individuals. These deliveries involved climbing as many as 14 flights of stairs in a pitch black, narrow stairwell, balancing cases of water, boxes of food, and a flashlight. Everyone who was home opened their door with bright eyes and great appreciation.

Civic Corps members made city evacuation centers comfortable for families by giving out warm clothes and personal items. On Long Island, AmeriCorps members with the Red Cross dispatched to a high school being used as a shelter for one of the hardest hit beachfront communities. 

Civic Corps members also led massive beach cleanups in the Rockaways, Coney Island, and Brighton Beach. AmeriCorps members from Green City Force and the New York Restoration Project picked up chainsaws, rakes and shovels and removed literally tons of downed trees and debris from city parks and green spaces. New York Restoration Project Corps members actually couldn’t make it to Albany today because their service is still so critically needed on the ground.

Our volunteer service does not only have an impact on communities, it impacts us as well. We are going to share a few reflections on the meaning of service in the aftermath of Sandy. 

As the storm hit, I watched my city shut down, and then become overwhelmed. The destruction was painful to watch, and I didn't want to sit by, doing nothing in response to such tragedy so close to home, so I jumped at the opportunity to help.In Red Hook, the differences between the National Guard and groups of volunteers diminished and we were just people working together to be stronger than we each could be individually. It was amazing to be surrounded by other individuals who wanted to help as much as I did. I think we were all inspired by one another to get as much as we could done.

I found it very gratifying to see the warm response from the community and to be greeted by huge smiles and sometimes even hugs. Though many were without water or electricity, our outreach comforted them in the sense that they were not going to be ignored. For me personally, I was humbled by the experience and proud that I was able to be part of history and contribute my efforts to help New Yorkers get back on their feet.

I was really excited about being able to give of my time and not looking for anything in return, I mean it just touches my heart to see the relief on peoples' faces when I delivered the packages to them. I never in my life would had thought that it would be so fulfilling doing volunteer work and see how many people came out to help. I always had love for people no matter who they are and to be apart of something so wonderful is a blessing, and I'm proud to be a AmeriCorps member. Thank you, AmeriCorps, for showing me what it truly means to give of yourself selflessly! 

As we speak, many New Yorkers are still without power, heat and water. Even when those services are restored, rebuilding will take years. At a community meeting in Red Hook last week, one resident stood up and said “Sandy brought us together, but let’s stay together!”

We say the same. If we continue work together like we have the past 3 weeks, there is no limit to what we can do. Thank you everyone for all you have done. And thank you for making us so proud to be a part of this program that lets us be of service where our communities need us most. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Meaning of Service Post-Sandy: AmeriCorps Members Reflect

Members of the New York Juvenile Justice Corps have been key to the volunteer efforts in Red Hook, one of the New York City neighborhoods hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy and home to the Red Hook Community Justice Center, our AmeriCorps' program's home base. Here is their story in their own words:

Gregory Mason:  I was really excited about being able to give of my time and not looking for nothing in return, I mean it just touched my heart to see the relief on people faces when I delivered the packages to 
them. I never in my life would had thought that it would be so fulfilling doing volunteer work and seeing how many people came out to help. I always had love for people no matter who they are and to be apart of something so wonderful is a blessing, and I'm proud to be an AMERICORPS member.

Danny Conyers: On Wednesday October 31st, a day after hurricane Sandy I came to Red Hook seeing the damage it had taken. After seeing the devastation left behind by the storm I knew there would be a lot of work to be done. Residents lost power, heat, and running water by the storm but manage to stay calm and work together during the struggle. Volunteering with Red Hook Justice Center, the National Guard and other community based organizations we manage to serve over 500 residents daily with food, water and other supplies. Making home deliveries to home bond residents, walking up 14 stories in the dark to residents who couldn’t leave their homes because of medical reasons or didn’t feel safe coming out of there apartment. The relief effort was a lot of work but worth it, as residents managed to get what they needed till things are restored. Volunteering during the aftermath of the storm it felt good to serve the residents in this time of need.

Salam Mustafa: Moving to New York from California was an adjustment for me and I did not know what to expect from New York and the AmeriCorps experience. I had only been in the Big Apple for a few months when Hurricane Sandy hit the Tri state area. I was lucky enough to not lose power or water but many New Yorkers were not as lucky. From the television and radio, I heard reports of fires destroying neighborhoods and families displaced with nowhere to go. It wasn’t till I got the call from Viviana that the AmeriCorps members were going to Red Hook to help the National Guard. As part of the volunteer efforts we helped distribute food and water, and make home deliveries to the elderly and disabled. It was very gratifying to see the warm response from a community and to be greeted by huge smiles and sometimes even hugs.Though many were without water or electricity, our emergency meals and outreach comforted them in the sense that they were not going to be ignored and it helped raise community morale among all residents of Red Hook.  For me personally, I was humbled by the experience and proud that I was able to be part of history and contribute my efforts to help New Yorkers get back on their feet.

Rebecca Schwartz: Volunteering in Red Hook and at other sites after Hurricane Sandy was an eye opening and heart warming experience. Prior to volunteering in Red Hook, I sat paralyzed in front of the news watching my city shut down and be overwhelmed. It was very painful to watch but feel helpless in the face of such tragedy so close by, so I jumped at the opportunity to help. The differences between those in the National Guard and each other group of volunteers diminished and we were just people working together to be stronger than we each could be individually. It was wonderful to be surrounded by other individuals who wanted to help as much as I did, and I think we were all inspired by one another to get as much as we could done.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Corps Members Volunteer for Local Firefighters in honor of 9/11 Day of Service

In remembrance of the anniversary of September 11th, the New York Juvenile Justice Corps organized a service project to benefit local firemen and family members affected by the attacks. Corps members spent the morning volunteering at Friends of Firefighters, a community-based organization formed by a small group of volunteers in the days after September 11th. Friends of Firefighters is based in a recently renovated 1800s era firehouse, a setting where many firemen feel comfortable seeking mental health and wellness services at no or low cost. Services include talk therapy, biofeedback, massage, acupuncture and peer support group workshops. Many active and retired firemen continue to volunteer with Friends of Firefighters, restoring the building and staying connected to the brotherhood that still provides them with so much strength and comfort. Corps members did a deep clean of the space, sweeping, mopping, organizing and dusting, and then ventured outside to do a community clean-up of the neighboring blocks. 

Everyone was grateful for the opportunity to be of service at a time when the pain of 9/11 is on all of our minds, and to contribute in a small way to the important work Friends of Firefighters does every day of the year.  

 Corps members volunteered alongside active and retired firemen to help complete the renovation of the office space.

 Corps Members in front of Friends of Firefighters, formerly an active firehouse from 1873-1960.
Cops Members with Friends of Firefighters founder and executive director, Nancy Carbone.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

AmeriCorps Members organize Red Hook's National Night Out Against Crime!

Yesterday the Red Hook community came together to celebrate our 18th annual National Night Out Against Crime. This long-standing event is in partnership with the Red Hook Community Justice Center, the NYPD 76th Precinct and PSA 1 Housing Police, Kings County District Attorney’s Office, the New York State Office of Court Administration, and the New York Juvenile Justice Corps.  This event provides an opportunity for residents, law enforcement and local organizations to come together, break down barriers, and take a stand against violence in our communities.

Hundreds of neighbors gathered in Red Hook’s Coffey Park for the festivities, food, positive messages, and a community resource fair with over 40 local organizations. Some highlights from the day included an anti-violence poetry slam by our local young poets, an exhibit of art work by young teens from the Justice Center’s art program, a Cops and Kids baseball game, and a teen dating violence PSA from the Justice Center’s Youth Echo program. And of course, there were plenty of fun activities including, pony rides, face painting, cotton candy, Youth Olympics, and an impromptu electric slide dance-off!

Local dignitaries and elected officials also came out and called for the community to come together and work with law enforcement to combat violence. Speakers included Brooklyn District Attorney, Charles Hynes, Senator Velmanette Montgomery, 76th Precinct Police Captain Jeffrey Schiff, City Council Members Sara Gonzalez and Brad Lander, Housing Police Captain Carlos Valdez, Felix Palacios of Council Speaker Quinn’s Office, Andrew Olsen of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, and our own, Honorable Judge Calabrese.

Collaboration and unity like we saw yesterday in Coffey Park has been critical to making the 76th precinct among Brooklyn’s safest and will continue to strengthen our community in years to come.
The pictures were taken by local teen participants in the Justice Center's JustArts Photography Program

Cops and Kids Baseball Game

  A Corps member shares his poem during the Anti-Violence Poetry Slam

Residents and Volunteers Join in for an Impromptu Electric Slide Dance Off!

The Red Hook Baseball League thank Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes and City Council Member Sara Gonzalez for their continued support of the league and the neighborhood.

Pony Rides are always a hit!

Residents Celebrating a beautiful evening in Red Hook.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Apply to be a New York Juvenile Justice Corps member!

Do you want to serve your community and make a difference in the lives of New York City youth and families? Apply to be an AmeriCorps member with the New York Juvenile Justice Corps today!

What is the New York Juvenile Justice Corps?
The New York Juvenile Justice Corps is an AmeriCorps national service program and project of the Center for Court Innovation. The Juvenile Justice Corps places Corps members at full-time, year-long job placements in courthouses, detention centers, schools and community centers throughout New York City. Corps Members provide wraparound interventions and positive programming to divert young people out of the justice system and break the cycle of unmet needs and delinquent behavior. Throughout the year, Corps members participate in meaningful service projects to have a visible impact in the community as well as monthly trainings to support their professional development.

What are the benefits?
  • Educational grant award of $5,550 which can be used toward tuition or student loans
  • Living stipend of $12,100
  • Basic health coverage
  • Childcare reimbursement
  • On the job and supplemental job training
  • Professional development and networking opportunities
  • 85% of Corps graduates go on to a full-time job or college!
What are the Requirements?
  • Commit to serve for 1 year from October 1st 2012 – September 30th 2013
  • Serve a minimum of 35 hours per week (for a total of 1,700 hours in 1 year)  
  • Participate in monthly trainings and service projects with the Corps including some weekend and evening obligations
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Must be at least 18 years old by October 1st 2012
  • An interest in public service, youth development, law and community service
  • United States citizen or legal permanent resident with a green card
  • Bi-lingual skills a plus 

How do I apply?
Please review positions available online at and submit a resume and cover letter directly to the hiring manager. For questions about benefits, eligibility or the application process contact Viviana at or 718-923-8274. The deadline to apply is September 1st, 2012.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

GED Plus Program Spotlight: Jason

The Red Hook Community Justice Center has hosted an on-site GED program since its founding in 2000. We recognize the strong link between justice system involvement and a lack of educational opportunities, and are able to provide this opportunity to youth, both court-involved and not, thanks to a partnership with the NYC Department of Education, and to the contributions of the members of the New York Juvenile Justice Corps, an AmeriCorps service program that seeks to prevent young people in New York City from becoming enmeshed in the criminal justice system.
Josh Pacheco, NY Juvenile Justice Corps GED Teaching Assistant with the Justice Center's onsite GED classroom's wall of diplomas
Some of our best success stories this year have been due to the relationships formed between Juvenile Justice Corps members and the young people they work with. Although academically very strong, Jason, one of our GED students, was having great difficulty expressing himself in writing. Writing is not only a component on the GED test, but also a major component in the portfolio requirement. Past attempts to reach Jason had failed, and had led to alienation and spotty attendance. It seemed that we could not effectively communicate with him, and left unchecked, this student was headed for a discharge due to frequent absences.
However, Jason was able to successfully work one-on-one with a member of the Juvenile Justice Corps. In a short period of time, the member was able to establish communication with Jason, and he became engaged and eager to reach his goal of attaining his GED. He became invested in his work and enjoyed discussing everything from music to math and history. They began to  build a sense of trust between them, and Jason started to drop his defenses and ease more into his writing. He began formulating ideas for essays and completed the writing components for the required portfolio, which included a personal statement and an academic research paper. Jason soon qualified to take his GED exam, which resulted in a diploma in March. He continues to be in close contact with the Corps member that he worked with previously, and has plans to pursue a college degree. Last month, Jason walked across the stage for the GED Plus graduation at Hunter College with his family, Juvenile Justice Corps members, and Justice Center staff in attendance to cheer him on.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

AmeriCorps Member Lee Serrano honored for her service to AIDS Walk and Relay for Life

For the past 2 years, AmeriCorps member Lee Serrano has not gone straight home when she's done for the day at her placement site (New York City Community Clean-Up and Bronx Community Solutions). Instead, second-year member Ms. Serrano leaves the office to go volunteer at another location for causes near and dear to her heart: finding cures for HIV/Aids and breast cancer. Not only has Ms. Serrano shared her time and passion to these important causes, she has made a name for herself as a stellar volunteer in both Aids Walk NYC and Relay for Life.

Lee, in her own words:
"On Saturday, June 2, 2012 myself and a group of my friends were asked to cook some Spanish food as a fundraiser for "Relay 4 Life"; we raised about $500.00. At this same event my picture was taken and was in a motorcycle magazine.

This Saturday, July 23 I will be in New Rochelle volunteering to help in the registration booth. This event is called "Latin Bikers Against Cancer" which means everyone that rides a motorcycles can ride to raise money for Breast Cancer. There will also be Cancer Survivors and food at the event.
For the Aids Walk I received an award for "outstanding contributions" as a volunteer. I volunteered between February all the through the day of the event. I volunteered phone banking and pamphlet preparation for the teams that attended the Aids Walk.

If it wasn't for AmeriCorps I would not have the opportunity to volunteer for these 2 organizations that are for a positive cause and continue to fight and find a cure. They have been fighting for such a long time to save lives and will not stop spreading the word."
Keep up your amazing work, Lee. You inspire us all.
Lee with AIDS Walk NYC coordinator, Shaun Sheppard

 Lee at AIDS Walk NYC 2011 with AmeriCorps coordinator, Viviana Gordon

Lee with fellow AmeriCorps members at AIDS Walk NYC

Lee's award for outstanding contributions to AIDS Walk NYC

Lee's service to "Relay for Life" was recognized in Full Throttle magazine

A dramatic finish for the Red Hook Youth Baseball season

The Red Hook Youth Baseball League concluded it’s 15th season last Saturday with the underdog, BYA Royals, sweeping the previously undefeated Southern Trucking squad in a best of three championship series, two games to none. AmeriCorps members helped to found the League 15 years ago and continue to support every aspect of the League through their service today through coaching, recruiting, maintaining the ballfields or planning championship day festivities.

After the Royals took the first game on Monday night, the teams faced off Saturday morning to conclude the series. The hard fought game was knotted at 3 at the end of regulation, forcing the game into extra innings as the sun moved high in the sky and temperatures inched passed 100. Southern Trucking made quick business of reclaiming their lead, posting 3 runs on the scoreboard. Things were looking bleak for the BYA, down 3-6 at the bottom of the inning with two outs and no one on base. Two consecutive hits set the table for Brian Velasquez to hit a two RBI triple and pull within one. The next batter, Paul Deceglie got a base hit, driving Brian home to tie the game. Paul subsequently stole second on a wild pitch. The Royals dugout was already on their feet when the next batter, catcher Leo Mota knocked a game winning walk-off single up the middle to clinch the championship in a thrilling 7-6 come-from-behind victory. The BYA win was unquestionably aided by their pitcher, Tommy Camarda, who hurled 6 strong innings and notched 13 strikeouts.
On the other diamond, the battle for third place between Hynes’ Heroes and the Defenders also had a dramatic conclusion with a photo finish play at the plate to end the game. Tied at 3, with two outs and a runner on first, Hynes’ coach Paul Vitale took a risk, banking on a Defender error, and called for 3b Raheem Bernard to steal second. The throw from the catcher sailed over the second baseman’s outstretched hand into center field and the runner rounded second, took third and sped for home on the overthrow. A well-executed relay nailed the runner with C Alex Ruiz applying the game-saving tag.  Both teams’ coaches agreed to call the game a draw due to the heat and to allow the players go watch the thrilling end of the championship game.
After the Royals doused their coaches with buckets of ice water and claimed their championship trophies, the young ballplayers were reminded that the game is about more than winning and losing, and what really matters is showing up, playing hard, and being a good teammate. This year, the League instituted the “Ray and James Brodick Award,” named in honor of the League founder and his father, which honors these qualities by recognizing one player from each team who most exemplifies the “'Love for Baseball' through sportsmanship, hard work and dedication throughout the season." This year the award was given to four inspirational young leaders: Leo Mota of the BYA Royals, Xavier Rivera of the Defenders, Harold Bandouveris of Hynes’ Heroes, and Michael Bosch of Southern Trucking. The award will be permanently displayed in the Red Hook Community Justice Center and serve as a reminder to the young ballplayers that lessons learned on the ballfields can be valuable in the off-season and serve them in life.  
Defender, Luis, in perfect form, pitched all 6 innings of the first round playoff game and came within 3 outs of knocking out #1 seed Southern Trucking.

Southern Trucker, Tatiana, got her share of RBI's (including an in the park grand slam!) to help clinch her team's undefeated (9-0) regular season.

After a 3 hour game in 100+ heat, the BYA Royals celebrate their "come from behind walk-off victory" over Southern Trucking scoring 5 runs with 2 outs in the last inning.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Corps Members Give Away Thousands of Books to Children in Red Hook to Encourage Summer Reading

On May 18th the New York Juvenile Justice Corps put on the second annual “Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader” summer reading kick-off event with the Red Hook branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. Under the hot Friday afternoon sun, Corps members gave away thousands of donated books to local children and teens. More than 500 kids, parents and grandparents spent hours browsing through the book selection and left with arms, bags and strollers full of new books for summer. Corps members greeted kids asking about their reading-level and favorite books to help direct them to books they would most enjoy. Corps members also led arts and crafts where kids designed bookmarks and drew illustrations from their favorite stories. Many children left the book fair to wander through the library - happily realizing free books are actually at their fingertips 365 days a year!
The event is an effort to encourage a love of reading and increase access to age-appropriate books to prevent the phenomenon of the “summer slide.” The “summer slide” happens when students go all summer without opening a book and fall behind in school, forcing teachers to spend up to three months reviewing lessons from the previous grade-level, causing students to fall even further behind. Research shows that students who read just 4 books during the summer score better on reading tests in the fall than their peers who read one or fewer books.
Corps members told the kids that although the last day of school is right around the corner, summer break does not have to mean a break from reading. It was inspiring to see children and their families get so excited about books and spend the afternoon reading in the sunshine, momentarily forgetting about their Xbox 360's and TV's back at home.
Books were generously donated by Tymberly Harris of Packer Collegiate Academy, Cynthia Sichenze of the Legal Aid Society, Dianne Graham of the Office of Children and Family Services, Sandra Sutton and Donna Longobardi of the Red Hook Public Library, Toni Bullock-Stallings and other Red Hook Community Justice Center staff. Thank you to Ronell Jack and Nelson Rivera and the Red Hook community service crews for their assistance moving the books, to Nate’s Pharmacy for donating hundreds of bags, to P.S. 15, PAVE Academy and Good Shepherd Services for spreading the word about the event, and to the dedicated members of the Juvenile Justice Corps for making the event possible.
 Children filled their backpacks and bags with books for summer.

 Good Shepherd Services brought over 100 children from their after-school program.

Corps Member Lameeka Collins leads children in arts and crafts. 

The book fair included books ranging from picture books to chapter books and everything in between! 

 Donna Longobardi of the BPL helped children decorate fun animal-shaped bookmarks.

Corps Members recommended favorite books from their junior high days. 

This event was made possible from the support of our wonderful Red Hook Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library! 

 Blue and yellow balloons (the colors of the JJC) attracted many children on their way home from school at P.S.15.

 Many young ballplayers from the Justice Center-run Red Hook Youth Baseball League came by before practice.

 Corps members reminisced about their favorite books from childhood. Corps Member Sean Myers has a soft spot for Captain Underpants! 
After the fair, children from nearby PAVE Academy gathered to read and share their new books with one another. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Connecting Teens and Young Adults to Summer Internship and Job Opportunities in Red Hook

On Tuesday, May 8th, the Red Hook Community Justice Center hosted our 3rd Annual Youth Summer Internships and Jobs Fair at the Joseph A. Miccio/ NYCHA Community Center in Red Hook, Brooklyn! We opened our doors to over 200 young people between the ages of 14-24 from throughout Brooklyn, with a focus on Red Hook and southwest Brooklyn, in the hopes of providing young people with the chance to apply for paid and unpaid summer employment opportunities at the Justice Center, local businesses and non-profit organizations. 

The Red Hook Community Justice Center began organizing the Summer Internship and Job Fair in response to high unemployment levels among local teens and their strong desire to find work during the summer. Estimates show that the teenage and young adult unemployment rate is substantially higher – about 30% - compared to the local unemployment rate of 9%. Finding summer jobs and internships is a rite of passage for our young people where they gain skills that have been shown to benefit their short-term academic goals and long-term professional careers. We want youth to gain experience and skills in professional fields, network, and help build their resume. Most importantly we want young people to occupy their time during the summer with positive experiences and opportunities. 

Some of the many organizations who participated in the fair were Exalt, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, Hook Productions, Groundswell Mural Project, Department of Youth and Community Development, the 76th Precinct’s Youth Explorers program, Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez’s Office, the F.A.S.T. Track Program, and Lutheran Family Health Center Community Health Corps; all of which have a deep rooted commitment to the youth in Red Hook and neighboring communities. In addition to these organizations, the Red Hook Community Justice Center and Center for Court Innovation (CCI) also recruited for job and internship opportunities through their New York Juvenile Justice Corps Program (AmeriCorps), Red Hook Community Justice Center Summer Internship Program, CCI’s Youth Justice Board Program, and our partnership program from the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, Youth Organizing to Save our Streets (Y.O.S.O.S.). Educational opportunities were also available, providing vital scholarship information for future high school graduates.

We thank all of the attendees and organizations that participated in this year’s job fair; and we will hopefully see many of these organizations and more next year for our 4th Annual fair. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Acting Director of AmeriCorps Visits the New York Juvenile Justice Corps

The New York Juvenile Justice Corps hosted a high-profile visit on April 13th at the Red Hook Community Justice Center, for leaders involved with AmeriCorps at the national and state levels. The Juvenile Justice Corps was chosen as one of only two programs the group visited in New York State.

From left: Judge Hon. Alex Calabrese, Red Hook Community Justice Center, Rosa Moreno-Mahoney, Acting Director - AmeriCorps State & National Corporation for National & Community Service, Mark Walter, Executive Director, New York State Commission on National & Community Service, and Alfred Siegel, Deputy Director, Center for Court Innovation

Visitors, including Adrienne Hallett, Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate Professional Staff, Rosa Moreno-Mahoney, Acting Director - AmeriCorps State & National Corporation for National & Community Service, Mark Walter, Executive Director, New York State Commission on National & Community Service, and Donna M. Smith, State Program Director, New York State Office, Corporation for National & Community Service, heard from Center for Court Innovation staff about the history of AmeriCorps service to the Red Hook community and the important role that the New York Juvenile Justice Corps plays in the Center's greater vision for juvenile justice reform in New York.

Corps members share their experiences in the New York Juvenile Justice Corps with the group.

The group also heard from several current Corps members who discussed their experience in AmeriCorps and the contributions they have made to the sites they have been placed in, which include youth courts,attendance courts, New York City Family Court, New York City Criminal Court, reentry programs and alternative-to-detention programs. Visitors were impressed by the stories members shared about the unique and positive impacts they have made on the youth, programs, and communities they serve. 

Visitors meet members of the New York Juvenile Justice Corps, leading a day-long service project for teen participants of our youth programs in recognition of Law Day.

Corps Member Javan Howard recognized for his service to at-risk youth placed with OCFS

New York Juvenile Justice Corps member, Javan Howard is featured in the latest news publication of his alma mater, Dickinson College. Javan serves at a 24-hour, all-male juvenile facility with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. In this capacity he creates and leads educational programming for the youth, finding new ways to teach core values such as democracy, identity, community-building and service-learning to the residents. Read more here

Congratulations Javan and thank you for your service to your community, AmeriCorps, and the youth at OCFS!

Javan and fellow Corps member Radel Clause volunteer for a recent "It's My Park Day" service project.