Today the Red Hook Community Justice Center hosted an event to celebrate a unique partnership between the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), generationOn, and the Center for Court Innovation to implement a pilot Service Learning initiative. OCFS Commissioner, Gladys Carrion, addressed the audience and emphasized the need to continue partnerships that are helping OCFS keep kids involved in the juvenile justice system closer to home and in their communities with positive programming.
This new initiative places AmeriCorps volunteers from the Center for Court Innovation’s New York Juvenile Justice Corps in OCFS’ Brooklyn and Bronx’s facilities. These highly-trained members facilitate and bring to life a Service Learning curriculum designed by generationOn, “Be the Change New York.” The curriculum is based on a restorative justice model and is designed to re-engage youth through Service Learning projects. The AmeriCorps members serve as instructors and role models to young people in OCFS facilities. Over the course of a year, more than 100 participating young people have learned new skills, built relationships, performed community service, and postiviely re-engaged with their local communities.
A packed audience with representatives from the New York City Department of Probation, OCFS, the New York State Court system, the Legal Aid Society, and the New York City Law Department saw an entertaining and educational presentation by AmeriCorps members about the new Service Learning initiative. New York State Senator, Velmanette Montgomery, and a representative from City Councilmember’s Sara Gonzelez’ office were also on hand to celebrate and address the group and emphasize the need to give New York’s children more opportunities to grow up in a safe community. This initiative has been so successful that it will be expanded over the next year with the help of three new Juvenile Justice Corps Members.
OCFS Commisioner Gladys Carrion
New York Juvenile Justice Corps members Alicia Grant and Raju Chowdhury present the new Service Learning Initiatve they facilitate at OCFS
New York State Senator Velmanette Montgomery
AmeriCorps members with Commissioner Carrion and Senator Montgomery
Guests enjoy a reception and display of youth art work and projects