Partnerships and Solutions:
Neighborhood Benches currently offer solutions at three levels; neighborhood level, community level and citywide level. It is important these solutions are strategically designed with partnerships and solutions to support the people impacted; and not be designed as if “one-size fit all”. Strategically designing partnerships benefits the organization, students, volunteers and communities. The design also strengthens capacity and relationships. As a result of this support from partners, the next-generation of leaders, identified as young social workers, urban leaders and educators are meeting to brainstorm and build upon solutions suffering communities need. These opportunities are for young people to engage in systematic changes (e.g. community, legislation, policies, practices, criminal justice and violence) and improve the leadership of diversified and strong people that will participate in finding solutions and implementing it.
Each year with the assistance of partnerships, Neighborhood Benches enroll 120 to 200 young people. With the help of students, volunteers and staff working with the Leaders Leadership League initiative we are able to provide support in these areas:
Summer Youth: 100 to 150 syep participants between the ages of 14-24 from SoBro, Community Counseling & Mediation, United Activities Unlimited and Children's Aid Society (2017). Each organization work with a different set of youths and young adults for different reasons. However, NB take on the 14 and 15 year old participants and provide them with mentors and project-based learning opportunities. The 16-24 year olds are challenged with the opportunity to volunteer on their off days and train directly under the NB staff as leaders.
College Students: 15 to 20 students from Lehman College for experiential learning under the SWK 250 Urban Leadership course. Lehman students study the history of public housing, policies and practices. As part of this course students are scheduled to complete 15 hours of experiential learning and a project. Students introduced to this course are encouraged to understand the duties of a social workers in the urban community. In addition, a tour is provided to assist students with understanding the conditions and lifestyle of the residents. This tour assist students with adding context to what they’ve learned in class and gathering a better understanding of the impact policies and practices have on the community residence.
Public Housing/NYCHA: At the neighborhood level a mixture of 15-22 harder to reach youths and young adults from Melrose Houses, Andrew Jackson Houses and Morrisania Air Rights were selected to participate in the 13 month cohort-based Leaders Leadership League (LLL) Initiative. The group of students were experienced with both community violence and incarceration. As part of this initiative the group learned the resident association duties and responsibilities to the residents, and policies and practices impacting the residents. As students working to better the neighborhood, they would put their leadership skills into practice by mentoring the summer youth participants over 6-8 weeks. Partnering with Mosholu Montefiore Community Center (MMCC) cornerstones helped to scale the Leaders Leadership League initiative. MMCC provided access to resident association leaders from Gun Hill Houses, Parkside Houses, Marble Hill Houses, Grant Houses, Pelham Houses, Edenwald Houses, Boston Secor and Ft. Independence Houses.
Courts: Through our partnership with Bronx Community Solutions NB provided a 1 hour group on Mondays to court involved youths at the Bronx County Criminal Courthouse. group services. During these groups life experiences were shared, behavior changes were encouraged and a vow to avoid further criminal justice involvement closed out the group. At the end of the group mentors were offered to a total of 10 students.
If you believe your partnership can assist us in these areas, send us a email request for partnership.