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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Record 1,186 Guns Surrendered to Bronx Buyback Program

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly grips one of the turned in firearms

As reported in today's Daily News, 1,186 firearms (handguns, semi-aoutomatics and sawed-off shotguns) were turned in by Bronx residents at four borough churches last weekend. For each gun that was turned in, a $200 prepaid bank card was given out. Funding for the program was provided by the Bronx Borough President's office, the Bronx District Attorney's office, and the NYPD.

The gun buyback program, which was launched citywide in 2008, allows residents to exchange their guns with no questions asked. According to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the guns will all be melted down and converted into coat hangers. Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson was extremely pleased with the residents who turned their guns over, stating that he was "heartened by the fact that the citizens understand that the worth of the weapon may be greater than what they receive...but the value in lives saved certainly outweighs that and [they] saw fit to bring them in."

Read more in the Daily News...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

First Community Advisory Board Meeting of the Year

From TK Singleton, Community Initiatives Coordinator

On Wednesday evening, January 20th, Bronx Community Solutions held its first quarterly Community Advisory meeting of the year. There were quite a few members in attendance. Our municipal community partners were on hand (Bronx District Attorney's office, Bronx Borough Presidents office, 161st street Business Improvement District, Parks Department and FDNY), along with our community partners Promesa and Cornerstone Continuous Care. A number of community members were also at the meeting, including Loretta Masterson, Sidney Flores, and SEBNC (SouthEast Bronx Economic Centers).

We started off the meeting by asking if there were any programs/projects that members would like Bronx Community Solutions to become partners with, and several responded. SEBNC would like us to assist with their in-house services for youth. FEGS would like us to provide support for a new RFP Program (out-of-school youth services for ages 16-21) and community patrol officer Sydney Flores would like us to continue assisting with community service projects.

Many of the partners were excited to see the pictures from our Community Impact Step Street Initiative project. Cary Goodman, the executive director of the 161st Street BID was so impressed, that he offered to use some of his empty store fronts on the corner of the Grand Concourse to showcase our pictures as exhibits.

CAB members agreed this would be a good way to show the community all the good work the courts are doing.
Lastly, Michael Patterson, one of our Americorps interns, spoke about the Bronx Community Solutions Basketball league and the experiences of the league members. He went into detail about the impact community service has had on himself and the team members. He also commented on the change of perception of the participants towards law enforcement, noting that "seeing officers in another light" was what he heard from other peers in the league.
Our next CAB meeting will be on April 21st, at the School of Law, Government and Justice.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

MLK Day in Harlem

From Damon Dobbs, Youth Development Coordinator:
Harlem Community Justice Center

On January 18th, 2010, the Harlem Community Justice Center's Harlem Youth Court and Americorps staff enjoyed their 3rd annual day of community service at PS 57 James Weldon Johnson, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr Day.

The event was sponsored by Citi Foundation, and celerbrated thier Eighth Annual "Grow Involved on Martin Luther King Jr. Day," a hands-on youth & family volunteer event organized by Children for Children and the Children's Action Board. Youth and staff participated in several activies throughout the day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

From case manager Daren Mills

Martin Luther King Jr. believed that "everybody can be great, because anybody can serve."
On January 18th, City Year New York invited Bronx Community Solutions to celebrate the life of Dr. King through inspirational service. The mission of City Year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service , is to partner with NYC Service by uniting the communities of the Bronx for a day of transformational service in an effort to help break down the barriers and social injustices around us.

The members of the Bronx Community Solutions Bombers basketball team were hands on while completing a number of projects. Case Manager Daren Mills and Bombers Michael Patterson and Bobby Harris started the day working with Diahann Billings-Burford, Chief Service Officer of the City of New York and the staff and corps members of NYC Service, by painting murals in the Hunts Point Middle School MS 424. Once that project was complete, the team moved on to the Hunts Point Recreation Center where they built planter boxes that will be used for the Center's environmental after-school program.
The Bombers ended their day at Wildcat High School, where they worked with middle school students to package food that will be sent to the Food Bank For New York City's warehouse in the Hunt's Point Terminal Market. After the food arrives at the market, it will be distributed to various food pantries throughout the New York City area.

Friday, January 08, 2010

2010 Resolutions

With 2010 in full swing, the Daily News profiled a host of high profile Bronx Borough figures to see what their resolutions were. Among those asked was Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who vowed to rid the borough of illegal guns.

To see what the rest had to say, check out the full article from the Daily News.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A New Approach to Prostitution Offenses in Dallas

Much like in the Bronx, where offenders who are arrested for prostitution are often offered entry into potentially life-changing programs such as GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services) in lieu of incarceration, the police in Dallas are now aiming to offer the same types of alternatives - going as far as to treat each prostitute as a sex-crime victim.

In a report that appeared yesterday in the New York Times, this new initiative is profiled at length. The program that the initiative utilizes, Homeward Bound, is police-led. Once the offenders reach the courtroom (after they're screened by the police and social service agencies), they're given the option to enter Homeward Bound, provided they don't have any outstanding felony warrants. From there, the chance to change is up to them.