For the past seven months the members of the Youth Advisory Board have been working with a team of graduate students from the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at The New School and a New York Juvenile Justice Corps member from the Red Hook Community Justice Center to explore issues faced by young people in southwest Brooklyn. During this time the members of the Youth Advisory board have been identifying and investigating important questions about high school graduation rates and gang involvement in southwest Brooklyn. Throughout this process they have conducted interviews, handed out surveys, taken pictures and told their own stories. On Tuesday, May 29th the members of the Youth Advisory Board screened a short video they made about these issues and presented the findings of their research to Justice Center staff, youth programs participants, faculty and administrators from The New School University, and community members.
|Teen members of the Youth Advisory Board present their recommendations to an audience of scholars from the New School, participants from other Justice Center youth programs, staff, and community members|
Youth Advisory Board members Johnny Batista, Corvenia Collins, and Lynn Domercant explained to the audience the importance of strong support structures in the lives of young people who are at risk for dropping out of school and joining gangs. One of their key findings was that young people need a broad base of support from parents, friends, schools, and organizations like the Red Hook Community Justice Center. Recognizing that the Justice Center already understands the importance of support structures in the lives of young people, the members of the youth advisory board came up with the following suggestions for ways that the Justice Center can ensure that it provides a supportive structure to a broad base of young people and their families:
1. Build better relationships with guidance counselors at schools to ensure schools are aware of the resources offered by the Justice Center.
2. Focus on marketing and peer outreach in schools and the community to publicize resources available at the Justice Center.
3. Always have programming available for young people to get involved in.
4. Create space for young people to get extra help with school work and to access resources for applying to college and planning life after high school.
5. Create youth and parent led workshops for parents and youth to discuss effective ways to support young people who are at risk for dropping out of school and/or joining gangs.
|A still from the Youth Advisory Board's video on issues affecting youth in Southwest Brooklyn|
This summer, graduate students at the New School will continue to work with the Justice Center to write up a formal report detailing the research done by the Youth Advisory Board and will begin looking for ways that these recommendations can be implemented in Red Hook.
We would like to thank everyone for attending the event and look forward to more opportunities to incorporate the voices of young people in our work.
|Youth Advisory Board members celebrate with administrators and graduate students from the New School|