Photo: UNH Campaign for Summer Jobs
The threat of severe cuts in city and state funding for youth programs, particularly the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), inspired young people in our community to let lawmakers know how important these programs are for Sunset Park families.
On Youth Action Day in February, teens and staff representing all of the Center’s youth programs took a trip to Albany, where they met with over 30 Assembly members and state legislators. While there, they also attended a rally organized by the Campaign for Summer Jobs, a coalition of New York City community agencies led by United Neighborhood Houses (UNH).
Participants, parents, staff and worksites employing youth in the summer also sent over 1,500 letters to state and city lawmakers and officials, including Governor Patterson, Assembly Member Felix Ortiz and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery. Young advocates, parents and staff testified at City Council hearings on the planned budget cuts.
“I felt that I played an essential role for all of New York youth because not many young people get the opportunity to fight for summer jobs and voice their opinion,” a youth participant said. “It was a powerful experience.”
In February, staff and youth participants from the Center ‘s Community School Project at PS 1 took part in the NYC 2010 “Beacon of Lights” conference sponsored by the Youth Development Institute. At the conference, they led a workshop on the use of social group work to foster youth leadership development and community building. The workshop featured presentations by our PS 1 youth participants who talked about their leadership role. In April, they will lead a similar workshop at the Coalition for Community Schools 2010 National Forum in Philadelphia.
Our staff at the PS 1 afterschool program
Group work is a core methodology of the social work profession that aims to promote individual growth and social change in the context of a group experience. Social group work provides a framework for anticipating predictable stages of group development and for selecting activities purposefully to meet the changing needs of the group and its participants at each stage in the life of the group. Group work is at the heart of the Center’s youth development programs, which are offered through partnerships with six Sunset Park public schools, including PS 1, PS 503/506, MS 136/MS 821 and the new Sunset Park High School. The use of social group work is a common thread across these programs, which provide a range of activities that help young people acquire skills through the arts, sports, educational support and community service projects. Continue reading
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, January 20!
The official opening of the long-awaited Sunset Park High School took place last Wednesday, September 23, 2009, with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. Speakers at the event included NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, NYC Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, NY State Assembly Member Felix Ortiz, and City Council Member Sara Gonzalez.
The Neighborhood Center program at PS1, a sports, art and recreation program for youth 8-16 years old, is seeking donations of gently used board games suitable for children age 8 to teens. If you have any games that you or your children have outgrown, we would love to take them off your hands and put them to great use.
If you would like to donate some games, please bring them to the Center for Family Life office at 345 43 rd Street (open Mon-Fri 8am-10pm or Sat 9am-5pm; phone: (718) 788 3500).
The Neighborhood Center invites all generations of neighborhood families for a variety of cultural, educational, and recreational activities – outdoors, when the weather permits. Activities include games and sports (basketball, soccer, volleyball, wiffleball), a lending library, creative arts and literacy activities, performing arts groups, a play yard for young children, and a family lounge with reading and homework tables.
Neighborhood Centers are open six days a week at PS 1 (309 47th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11220; phone: (718) 492-2619) and seven days a week at PS 503/506 (333 60th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11220; phone: (718) 439-5986).
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.