|For Further Information Contact:|
|Betsy Brockway, Director of Health & Human Services|
Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus and the Dutchess County Youth Bureau announced today that four local community agencies will be awarded funding totaling $96,000 from the Dutchess County 2007 Youth Gang Prevention Initiative Grant for programs that address gang prevention/intervention strategies for youth at risk of gang involvement. The agencies receiving funding are Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County, Council On Addiction Prevention and Education of Dutchess County, Hudson Riving Housing Inc., and Martin Luther King Cultural Center, Inc..
The Youth Gang Prevention Initiative is in its second year after being first spearheaded by Steinhaus in 2006. According to Steinhaus, “The Dutchess County Youth Gang Prevention Initiative Grant is designed to build a sense of community and culture that provides job training, positive values and leadership opportunities for our youth that can deter them from local gang involvement.”
The Youth Gang Prevention Initiative Grant targets Dutchess County youth ages 7 to 18 years old who are experiencing one or more of the following areas of concern: Youth who are experiencing school failure, involved in the juvenile/criminal justice systems, involved in the child welfare system, experiencing community or family violence, or are at risk of gang involvement or are currently gang involved.
The following programs will be funded through the Youth Gang Prevention Initiative Grant:
Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County (CCEDC) program’s “Green Teen Community Gardening” will receive $22,000 to provide services for youth from the City of Poughkeepsie and City of Beacon areas. Green Teen Community Gardening is a 10 week after school program featuring training and work experience. It will build basic skill sets and knowledge base around the issues of urban agriculture, community food security, and personal & environmental health. The YGPI grant will provide 2, ten week sessions. A participant in the 2006 Green Teen program said: “Working with Green Teen this summer has really been amazing. The people I’ve met are people that I’ve been looking for. Doing all the things I’ve done in Green Teen has uncovered a liking of farming and urban agriculture that I never knew that I had. With all that I’ve learned, I really want to take that and do something with it.”
The Council on Addiction Prevention and Education (CAPE) of Dutchess County’s program “The Marathon Program; Empowering Youth Through Running” will receive $30,000 to serve youth from the City of Poughkeepsie and City of Beacon area. Youth ages 12-18 will be provided with mentors who will monitor their training for a marathon project and other activities. Youth will attend anti-gang workshops, nutritional training, cross training through memberships to the YMCA or Beacon High fitness program.
Martin Luther King Cultural Center’s (MLKCC) program “Community Partnership with Schools and Business” will receive $14,000 to serve youth from the City of Beacon area. The program will provide youth with job training, mentoring career exploration and paid internships in community businesses for youth between 14-18 years old. Youth will attend workshops to explore career goals, dreams, aptitudes, and the educational skills needed for job placement. They will also receive help with resumes, cover letters, applications and job interview skills.
Hudson River Housing’s “Excel” program will receive $30,000 to serve youth throughout Dutchess County who are released from residential detention and are at risk of being involved in gang activity. The program features a Life Coach who will link youth to available resources to constructively utilize their time, increase their life skills, assets and decision-making skills. Youth will participate in activities that provide leadership, civic and other development opportunities.
The grant will also provide $19,000 in funds for the Dutchess County Youth Bureau to collaborate with law enforcement agencies to create community awareness and gang prevention training in the county. The funds will pay for materials, travel expenses, consultants, conferences and training. Additionally, the Youth Bureau will use the funds to provide technical assistance to the other agencies, schools and communities in Dutchess County.
According to Dutchess County Youth Bureau Director William Sanchez, “Building community awareness is a key element to preventing future gang involvement from our young people. The Youth Bureau’s mission is to increase public awareness of youth issues such gang involvement and to enhance community resource programs. The programs funded by Youth Gang Prevention Initiative Grant allow us to reach out to our at-risk youth and help prevent future gang involvement.”
“It is critically important that we support programs such as those funded by the 2007 Youth Gang Prevention Initiative Grant. We have a responsibility as a community to provide positive role models and safe learning environments to help our at-risk youth avoid the detrimental consequences of gang involvement,” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.
For more information about the Dutchess County Youth Bureau, visit the Dutchess County government website at http://www.dutchessny.gov/.