Youth & Seniors
Our youth and seniors represent both the past and future of our city. They are an essential part of what makes the Bronx such a great place to live and call home, but they lack the support needed to thrive. I will fight to ensure our youth have programs available that will ensure successful futures and space to interact with one another. As our seniors have faced months of isolation, I will work to reconnect them to one another and ensure that they have services available to make it through the coming months.
The Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) has been an effective way to keep our youth off the street and provide them with valuable work experience. In the City Council we worked to expand this program to year round availability under Work, Learn, Grow. As Borough President, I will work to expand this program to include more youth and young adults so that they can benefit from the experiences provided.
Other important programs like COMPASS, SONYC, Beacon, and Cornerstone give our youth opportunities to grow and learn. I have been proud to fight for millions of dollars in funding to these programs in the City Council, but we must do more to expand them so that more are able to participate in them. We must continue to ensure opportunities for all youth and young adults to have a safe place to learn, recreate, and grow.
I worked with the NYC Football Club (NYCFC) and others in the community to expand Saturday Night Lights, which provided opportunities for young people to play soccer and basketball in a safe environment. We should expand this program to encompass other sports, and utilize the space we have in schools and community centers to make it accessible year round. While we must also take pandemic precautions at this time, there is a real opportunity to provide safe, fun activities that bring our youth together and keep them out of trouble.
We must create spaces for our young people to come together in a safe environment. That is why I will work to build more community centers that provide programming such as These centers should also be resources for employment and educational opportunities, with services like resume building for young adults and workforce development programs.
Supporting our Seniors
The pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the social lives of our seniors, leaving many of them unable to interact with each other as they normally would at our senior centers. We must work to find safe ways to reconnect seniors with one another, including the use of technology that they may not currently have access to. As we ultimately work to reopen our senior centers we must ensure thought provoking programs that help them regain their independence. Mental health workers should also be made available to provide services to those who lost loved ones or faced difficulties throughout these months.
During the pandemic I called on NYCHA to provide door to door wellness checks on our seniors, and we should continue to make this a priority to ensure they are taken care of. We have expanded food delivery distribution with success, but we must continue this program to prevent any senior from facing the risk of going hungry. Before the pandemic, I supported legislation requiring the city to enroll more seniors in food assistance programs, we must continue this effort so that every senior has access to affordable food.