D.E.F.Y. Program Spreads Christmas Cheer
D.E.F.Y. Program Spreads
By Gary G. Toms
This week, the D.E.F.Y. (Drug Education For Youth) program played host to a number of children from the Far Rockaway area, M.S. 53 in particular, during a Christmas party held at The Beach Club. The party reunited many of the children who took part in the D.E.F.Y. Free Camp program, which was conducted last summer.
Police Officer Dennis Lewis, of the 101 Precinct, has been involved with the program for a number of years and served as one of the host for the party.
"It is really great that the kids can come together for a little holiday fun. This is basically the same group of kids that we had in the free camp we offered last summer. I’m very happy to see them again and to know that they are doing many positive things with their lives. After all, that’s what the D.E.F.Y. program is all about," said Lewis.
Police officer Mary C. Craine-Bachner, Consultant and Trainer of the NYPD Grants Development Units, attended the holiday party and gave high marks for the D.E.F.Y.
"The program gives these kids a chance to make it. If they have positive outlets, they will lead positive lives. While the D.E.F.Y. program is doing wonderful things with the kids, we plan to do a lot more to provide real opportunities and hope for the children of Rockaway," stated Craine-Bachner.
The D.E.F.Y. program is a two-part program. The first part is an intensive summer camp, which promotes positive self-image, physical fitness, and anti-gang and drug prevention. Emphasis is placed on increased interpersonal and communicative skills as well as goal setting.
The second part is a mentoring program that matches adult volunteer mentors with members from the intensive summer camp program. Mentors dedicate a minimum of four hours a month to developing their relationships with the youth. They also participate with the D.E.F.Y. staff, volunteers and participants for workshops and special events.
If you would like to obtain more information about the program, you can contact P.O. Lewis at the 101 Precinct, 16-12 Mott Avenue-Far Rockaway, New York 11691. You can reach him by phone at (718) 868-3424.