Thursday, May 1, 2008

Keep on Giving, CNY: Adult/Teen Dialogue

"May Day Basket", originally uploaded by Barbara KB.

Congratulations to all the winners of "Oprah's Big Give CNY"! A large portion of the funds are going towards youth services, and we think that's great.

We're still seeking supporters for the "Adult/Teen Dialogue" that will engage youth with supportive Law Enforcement Officers (LEO's) in a dynamic learning environment.

The goal of this program is to teach and reinforce good values in young people, strengthening their internal compasses that can result in better life choices . As a tactic in our community policing strategy, investing in youth and equipping them with the capacity to make better decisions results in lower incidences of drug and alcohol abuse, delinquency, crime and other problems.

“Instilling Positive Values” is one of the key “developmental assets” or essential building blocks that research has shown has a positive impact on the lives of youth. These assets provide a foundation for kids as they grow. Good adult role models can provide young people with guidance as they put the values they’re learning into practice. Quality adult connections provide a safety net that is especially important during the teen years.

Depending on the resources received, up to four groups of 20 youth (up to 80) will have an opportunity to go through the program, along with four groups of 10 LEO's (up to 40) who will assume the role of “Asset Builders”. Young people living on the North side of Syracuse will be targeted as a priority, as will the officers who work in community policing and other capacities with youth and families. But any teen or officer who expresses an interest in participating is encouraged to contact us.

Each of four six hour programs will begin with a three hour “Teen Night Out”, where youth will be guided by facilitators in ice-breakers and skill building exercises. These fun and challenging group activities will prepare the youth to assume leadership roles as the session progresses.

In the next three hour session the following day, teens will practice what they learned by leading officer’s through an Adult/Teen Dialogue to build greater understanding and strengthen these relationships.

The primary outcome of this program is to reinforce the value of treating others with dignity and respect in participants, and show them how to put this into practice. By getting to know one another as individuals, discussing past experiences with each other and their perceptions, communicating effectively and other learning opportunities, participants will learn to value others as individuals, and treat them with dignity and respect.

We want to make this opportunity available to any interested and motivated young person who wants to be involved in a positive program that will give them a foundation for their short and long term development.

$1,750 will make that a reality for up to 40 city youth this year who will receive an experience that can make a positive impact on their lives. $3,500 will enable us to double the amount of participants.

Equipping young people with tools needed to make better decisions can result in a healthier community for all.

If you are interested in learning more or want to participate, please email us or call (315)471-3257.

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