Category Archives: Community Collaborations

Rally to Stop Preventive Services Funding Cuts

Planned cuts in state and city budgets will decrease funding for the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), which coordinates the work of preventive service providers. As a result, the number of families that community agencies will be able to serve next year will be reduced by 2,500-3,000.

Preventive services are community-based programs that strengthen, support and nurture families, helping to prevent child abuse and neglect. They help make homes safer for children and reduce the likelihood that they end up in foster care. Preventive services not only ensure children’s well being, they are also a great investment: each child whose placement into foster care can be prevented saves large amounts of money for city and state.

Julia Jean-Francois, the Center's Co-Director, addressing the rally on Monday

On Monday, community organizations from all boroughs attended a rally at City Hall, organized by Citizens’ Committee for Children, to protest the planned funding cuts. Among the speakers was the Center’s Co-Director, Julia Jean-Francois. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Welfare, Community Collaborations, Family Counseling Program

Funding Cuts for Youth Programs to Have Severe Impact in Sunset Park

The Governor’s proposed state budget for the 2011 fiscal year includes an $11 million funding cut for the Advantage After School Program and the elimination of  NY State funding for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).

These cuts would have a huge impact in Sunset Park: the Advantage After School Program provides funding for three of the Center’s school-based youth programs, including PS 1, PS 503/PS 506 and MS 136/MS 821. The Summer Youth Employment Program supports over 1,300 summer jobs for teens each year, including hundreds of counselor positions that are essential to the neighborhood’s free summer day camp programs. Continue reading

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Filed under Community Collaborations, Education, School-Based Youth Development Programs, Youth Development

Volunteers Needed: Help High Schoolers Choose a Career

The first annual Career, College & Community Building Day at Sunset Park High School will be held on Friday, January 29, 2010. Center for Family Life and the Sunset Park High School are seeking adult volunteers who will introduce students to a variety of career options.

From 10:30 am to 1:30, volunteers will lead discussions with students during three lunch periods. Each of the three lunch periods is 1 hour in length, and we hope that guests will be be able to spend all three hours at the event so that all students will have a chance to interact with all of the guests.

During each lunch period, guests will speak about their education and career paths, and answer questions from a group of 5-8 ninth-grade students. Tables will be organized by employment field/career.

We plan to set up 21 tables, and welcome several additional volunteers.  In particular, we need volunteers representing the business community and health/medical careers, but anyone who would like a chance to interact with the SPHS’s terrific first graduating class of 2013 is welcome.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Julie Brockway at (718) 840-1620 or jbethstein@aol.com by Wednesday, January 20!

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Filed under Community Collaborations, Education, School-Based Youth Development Programs, Youth Development

Vision Plan for Sunset Park Waterfront Approved

On July 20, Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced a $270 million investment to revitalize the Sunset Park waterfront. The Sunset Park Waterfront Vision Plan (pdf) aims to create thousands of jobs by promoting industrial activity and to improve the quality of life for community residents.

198841829_590ce241bcThe  waterfront’s piers, terminals, and rail yards have been in disrepair for decades. Projects in the plan include modernizing the aging maritime and industrial infrastructure, re-activate vacant or underutilized space, attracting green and environmentally sustainable businesses and creating local, blue-collar job opportunities.

According to the Vision Plan, the projects will provide an enormous jolt to the neighborhood’s economy:

The short-term recommendations alone have the potential to create or induce 5,000 jobs in Sunset Park, and defer as many as 19,500 annual regional truck trips (53 trips/day) and 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Implementation of the full Vision Plan could result in the creation or inducement of approximately 11,000 jobs, the elimination of over 70,000 annual regional truck trips and 5,000 tons of CO2 emissions, as well as the activation of approximately 3.5 million square feet of industrial space for job-generating uses.

In addition to stimulating the economy, the plan will add a new 22-acre park at the Bush Terminal Piers, effectively doubling the amount of green space in Sunset Park.  The park will provide access to the waterfront for residents of a neighborhood that is currently cut off from the water by the Gowanus Expressway and commercial developments through new pedestrian walkways, as well as “key corridors” at 35th, 43rd, 51st and 58th streets. Rezoning the section to the east of the industrial area will help preserve and encourage the creation of affordable housing.

The Sunset Park-based Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (SBIDC) and Community Board 7 played key roles in the development of the Vision Plan.

Read more about the planned projects at the PlanNYC web site and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

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Filed under Community Collaborations, Community Development

“Every voice was heard.”

The Home Reporter and Sunset News recently published a story on how the Sunset Park community organized to advocate for the first high school  in the neighborhood. Here are some excerpts of the article:

“It has been a long haul filled with a lot of challenges,” said Julie Stein Brockway, chair of the Sunset Park High School Task Force

Stein Brockway was among the community representatives who greeted Mayor Bloomberg and City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein when the two men visited the high school site on March 1.

The Sunset Park High School Task Force, which was organized a few years ago at the behest of Community Board Seven, is composed entirely of volunteers representing a cross section of the neighborhood.

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Filed under Community Collaborations, Education, School-Based Youth Development Programs

New High School for Sunset Park!

The newly constructed Sunset Park High School – our neighborhood’s first public high school – will open its doors to students in September 2009. In late January, the Department of Education approved a design, developed with community input, for a 1,500-seat school with three small learning communities focusing on the performing and visual arts, health and human services, and business and entrepreneurship.

Daily News

Sunset Park High School, 35th St. & 4th Avenue, February 6, 2009. Photo: Daily News

Sunset Park High School is the result of 40 years of advocacy by community residents and neighborhood organizations seeking equitable access to quality education for youth in Sunset Park. When promised funds for a school building were cut from the city’s capital plan again and again, the Sunset Park High School Task Force organized a successful campaign to secure funding. Construction began in 2006, and since then, the Task Force has worked to ensure that the long-awaited school responds to community priorities. The New York Daily News describes the community’s efforts in an article published this week:

An energetic group of old-timers, social workers, local leaders and high school kids banded together to take on the Department of Education and plan their own Sunset Park High School.

“It’s uplifting,” said interim principal Corinne Vinal, selected last summer to help design the school, which was officially approved last month. “They have questions. They’re informed. They have already rolled up their sleeves to ensure the school itself succeeds.”

SPHS will open in Fall 2009 with 324 9th grade students, and will add an additional grade each year to reach its full capacity of 1,500 students. Teachers and administrators will receive support from the Institute for Student Achievement, and community-based organizations – including Center for Family Life – will partner with the school to provide afterschool programming and supports for youth and their families.

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Filed under Community Collaborations, Education, Youth Development