The Child Center of NY joined forces with other community-based organizations such as the Campaign for Children, United Neighborhood Houses, and Queens Community House for the #FundYouthNYC initiative to advocate for summer engagement.
The week of May 18–22, we hosted nightly virtual town halls to allow Queens residents the opportunity to make their voices heard on the impact of the Mayor’s budget cuts to the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) programs (which include all Beacon, Cornerstone, COMPASS, and SONYC programs) for this summer. Each event focused on different sections of Queens, and hundreds of parents, students, participants, program leads, teachers, and other community members participated, in addition to elected officials who represent those areas, including NYC Council Members Barry Grodenchik, Karen Koslowitz, Rory Lancman, and Jimmy Van Bramer, as well as Chief of Staff to Adrienne Adams, Jamal Wilkerson.
We were inspired each day by the participants’ passion and the eloquence with which they spoke about how important summer programming is to their families. Our city’s most under-served youth depend on programs such as the city’s summer youth employment program, which provides city-funded jobs for 75,000 young people, and summer programs that keep them learning and engaged. Said one mother through tears, “We need these programs very much. The staff give our children tools to succeed in life.” As these spirited town halls demonstrated, we won’t stop fighting for their funding.
The week culminated with a virtual dance party, pictured here, led by 11-year-old Daniel, a.k.a., DJ Deep Soundz, a participant of our COMPASS P.S. 273 program, who is also learning from Todd Taylor at our NYPD Community Center program. Daniel is quickly becoming a celebrity DJ in his own right in the East New York area. After getting a glimpse of his skills, we can see why!