Opportunities For Our Youth
Growing up in Bedford Stuyvesant was not without its challenges as there were many negative influences. At that time, many of my peers were disconnected from school and work and found themselves spiraling down the wrong path.
According to Jobs For The Future: “Nearly 40 percent of our young people between the ages of 16 and 24 are weakly attached or unattached to school and work at some point during that formative stretch of their young lives.” Moreover, despite young people’s aspirations to advance and secure family wage jobs, make connections in civic engagement, and improve their communities, once they have experienced disconnection from school and work, it’s very unlikely they’ll be able to meet these aspirations, as only 1 percent of youth who’ve been disconnected will ever earn an associate’s degree or higher, compared to 36 percent of the general population. And the data is clear: a large majority of today’s and the near future’s family-supporting wage jobs will require some kind of training or credential beyond a high school degree.
Having access to cultural events at Restoration Plaza such as the Billie Holiday Theater and an ice skating rink, as well as community mentors, helped to counteract these negative influences. Dance lessons at the Muse previously located on Bedford Avenue and Eastern Parkway, as well as frequent visits to the Brooklyn Museum helped to expose me to the arts and the possibilities beyond my zip code. As such, I have an unshakable commitment and responsibility to ensure every neighborhood regardless of zip code have safe havens like the former Muse recreation center where our young people can have access to enrichment programs in a safe environment that will help change their trajectory. As such we must create opportunities for youth development for our young people living in Brooklyn.
This will be accomplished by combining resources from philanthropic partners, premier workforce development programs, area businesses, and the City of New York to create pathways for future success.
As city councilwoman Zuri will:
Advocate for funding for Enrichment programs that provides structured, safe, and enriching activities for young people outside of the classroom, between the closing bell and when working parents get home from school or weekends and school breaks.
Advocate for funding for Prevention and Intervention programs that serves youth who may need more support because they are not connected to school, may have been touched by the juvenile justice system, may be out of school, homeless or need mental health support.
Advocate for additional funding for Youth Employment programs that brings together government institutions, community-based organizations, and employers to offer subsidized employment and internship opportunities to youth and young adults ages 14-24.
Advocate for funding for Reentry Services and Youth Mentoring Programs and enlist the talent and wisdom of our retired and older adults ages 55 and older to strengthen their communities by serving as volunteers. Including funding to provide intensive training for all mentors.