Here are some of my notes & observations on the Committee of the Whole on Wednesday night.
Chair Bitsy Clark opened the session asking Alderman Perez to give an accounting of the Black & Hispanic Caucus trip to NYC a few weeks ago that was sponsored by Bank of America and was arranged Jeff Klaus who is a VP there.
They went to a number of places including the Doors in lower Manhattan & Kipps (I believe that that is the correct spelling) in the Bronx. Kipps is similar to our Amistad here in New Haven and the Doors is an amazing Youth Center that provides a full range of services - everything from tutoring help to in house job training to a medical clinic. An interesting note was that they started small (a few hundred thousand dollars per year) and now have a really large budget. Of course they serve a larger population but it still is amazing. They raise their funds in 3 parts 1) from the city of New York, 2) Grants 3) The Board of Directors (they have some "heavy hitters").
The question was then asked how we can bring something like that here. We already have an amazing school - Amistad - but what about the program? The discussion went on for a while touching on all topics from transportation to budgeting to neighborhoods served.
There was no solid resolution to this but we heard from Che Dawson & Pierette Silverman about what the City is doing. Firstly all Youth Programs will be coordinated through this new office so that someone will have an idea of all of the programs going on and will act as a central point so there will hopefully be a proper allocation of assets and if a parent or child is looking for information they can call just one place.
There will be an open school program this summer. With Hillhouse being one of them. There will be programs from children from ages 12 to 18. The details still have to be worked out with regard to times & programs. But when it is available I will let you know.
There was talk on what to do with the actual amendment – The committee can only continue if it is still tabled. But there is a feeling that it is time to vote on it and – as it reads now will probably fail. The hope is that by the crucial time of the Summer comes around we will have the programs and logistics in place to keep the kids active in a positive manner.