Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez on Tuesday announced that his Office is seeking community-based organizations to partner in an upcoming youth development and crime prevention program that will operate in several Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Gonzalez said the program will focus on sports and fitness activities “to provide a safe space for youth ages 11 to 19 to engage in recreational activities and minimize criminal justice involvement.”
In seeking the involvement of community-based organizations, Gonzalez said he recognizes that they are “uniquely qualified to best address the needs of youth in neighborhoods, where young people too often engage in criminal activity for a lack of positive, productive ways to spend their time.
“We are excited to offer this upcoming program to give Brooklyn’s youth a new opportunity to be active and engaged in a safe space in their communities,” he said. “And to help get the most out of the program, we’re now hoping to draw upon the experience and expertise of community organizations — to help plan the program and ultimately partner with us in making it a success.”
Gonzalez’s office has issued a Request for Information (RFI), in advance of an upcoming Request for Proposals (RFP), to invite ideas and discussion from community-based organizations with relevant experience in youth development about options available for implementing the program in several Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Gonzalez said the goals of the program include: To create safe communities through innovative and impactful programming; to prevent youth violence and youth victimization in high-crime neighborhoods; to reduce violence and criminal justice involvement with youth; to provide high quality skill-development activities; and to improve relations between law enforcement and communities.
The program will join the portfolio of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Educational Programs Unit, which offers a range of programs to increase public safety and help Brooklyn residents further develop collaborative and proactive responses to community concerns, Gonzalez said.
He said current programs include the Police Athletic League Chess Program for at-risk youth, held in Bedford-Stuyvesant and East New York; Friday Night Lights, the Good Shepherd Services Drill and Play basketball program, held at the Miccio Community Center in Red Hook; Project Restart, a youth diversion program serving over-age, under-credited students transitioning into high school; and two alternative to incarceration programs for first-time offenders between the ages of 13 and 22 who meet eligibility requirements.