Last week the Office of Youth and Community Programs at the Justice Center celebrated our 1 year anniversary in our Bridging the Gap Series: Youth, Community and Police!
Youth, community members, officers, guests and parents all joined together at Brooklyn Borough Hall to reflect on the work we have been able to do within the last year. For a few years now, this was just an idea that we were finally able to bring to fruition with the help of PSA1s then Neighborhood Coordination Officer (NCO), Edgard Centeno last July. The objective of our series is to educate our youth and community members on how to build and improve relationships with police, and allow them a safe space to interact. Incidents over the years have caused broken seams between police officers and the communities they serve. Thus, we wanted to create events where all parties could be heard and bridge that gap.
A few keynote speakers included Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna, Assistant Chief Rodney Harrison, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, and two young adults who have attended each and every event and Neighborhood Coordination Officer, Terence Williams. Just like in previous events, we had an icebreaker to get the crowd mingling followed by our discussion circles, that allowed an open forum for conversation. It was very rewarding to see how far we have come. It is our goal to expand our series outside of Red Hook, and across Brooklyn to reach greater audiences of all ages and continue developing relationships. There is still a lot of work that must be done, but it is our hope we are moving within the right direction, with these dialogues and interactions.
One of our favorite components of this event was a mural that was created by one of our very own AmeriCorps Members that was a true depiction of what our series is all about. As attendees entered the event everyone signed their names and now aside from the wonderful photos attached we now have an art piece that we will hang proudly in our office.
Copy the link below to read an article the Red Hook Star Revue that covered the event in detail:
BUT Bridging the Gap did not stop there!
On Friday 7/21 in the afternoon, we held a car wash in our parking lot to fundraise for our programming. For some time our Youth Program participants have been hoping to go on a weekend retreat, this is just one of many of our efforts to fundraise enough for the trip. Our local NYPD officers joined in the fun by bringing their vehicles and even pitched in and assisted us washing the cars. We would like to thank everyone including, our court officers, Justice Center staff, NYPD officers, and our youth for aiding us in our endeavors as well as the passer buyers who either donated or got their cars washed. We were able to fundraise close to $600 dollars during this event! All in all it was a great week!
We would like to thank our my team of staff members for all their hard work in making these events so successful. Stay tuned for future events. We just may be in a community near you.
Check out all of the pictures to see how amazing our recent events have been! #GoRedHook