2003-07-04 / Columnists

The RDRC Community Update

Youth Employment And Training Programs
By Curtis Archer, Executive Director
The RDRC Community Update By Curtis Archer, Executive Director Youth Employment And Training Programs

Curtis ArcherCurtis Archer

The Youth Employment Education and Training Program (YEETP) Department at Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC) will begin the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) on June 30. The SYEP will provide employment opportunities for youths, ages 14-21, on the Rockaway Peninsula, Broad Channel and Jamaica.

Our numbers are down from last year. This year so far RDRC has received a total of 502 positions for youth. The breakdown is 214 SYEP slots from the New York City Department of Employment (DOE) and 288 SYEP slots from the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). Of the 288 SYEP slots from DYCD, 57 of the youth will participate in one of the following unique summer components: "Be Fit to Play" (a collaboration between DYCD, United Way, New York City Parks Department, YWCA and RDRC – which will be funded by the Foot Locker Corporation) will instruct 100 youth, ages 11-14, about health, nutrition and how to play basketball, softball, soccer, track and field and double-dutch. Be Fit to Play is a free program that will be housed at Middle School 198 (RDRC’s Beacon Center) and Bayswater Park, Far Rockaway, during 7/7/03-8/14/03. The program will conclude with a tournament in Queens followed by a citywide tournament at Battery Park, NY.

"College Now" will consist of a one day per week seminar for students who are open to exploring college courses and continuing their studies during the summer and the fall of 2003. College credit can be earned through this program.

"CUNY College Prep Program" will also consist of one day per week seminars in which students explore the college environment at one of CUNY’s institutions and prepare for a real world college experience.

On July 7, RDRC’s Beacon Program-Summer Day Camp program will once again begin at the Reverend Thomas Mason Community Center located at Middle School 198. The program is a six- to seven-week program for youths between the ages of (6) six to (13) thirteen and one of the most successful activities at the Beacon. This program affords over 100 children the ability to participate in the only FREE summer day camp program located on the Rockaway Peninsula. The children participating in this program are taken on educational, cultural and recreational trips and provided with tee shirts and tote bags. However, participation in the program is not just geared towards simply having fun; academic instruction from Department of Education teachers is provided throughout the program’s entirety.

I wanted to share this wonderful little note from Ms. Zandra Meyers, Manager of Support Services at the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center (Addabbo), on the importance of the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) and the positive experience she has had with one of our youth in the program.

Ms. Meyers wrote "the first summer I worked here I asked how many SYEP workers we would get.  I was told they are more trouble than they are worth.  I went to Dr. Nelson and asked if I could have one just for myself.  I prayed.

Much to my satisfaction I was sent Rayasia Brown. She continued with me into the fall programs, and to the following summer.  She is with me again.  She is such a delight I cannot begin to tell you how she has helped me and continues to help me.  But that is not the good part.  The good part is that this summer all Addabbo sites are participating in the program.  All the Managers are asking for young ladies, just like Rayasia.

I know it seems a thankless job you are doing at times.  Just want you to know that you and your program are appreciated."

To sum it up, the Summer Youth Employment Program is an important program for all who participate (businesses/worksites and our youth). The businesses/worksites get a valuable commodity (an energetic and motivated young person) for the summer and the youth receive an enriching experience that will leave a lasting and positive impression on their lives as they further their education and eventually enter the world of work.

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