At Bronx Community Solutions we call our community service program “Uncommon" Why? Because our community service is not just about cleaning up communities, it is about creating a better Bronx by empowering the community and our clients.
The components of uncommon community service are:
1) 1. Caring for clients and the community.
Client safety and well-being are our top concerns. Clients are given clear instructions on how to conduct community service safely, and rules are followed for the good of the group. Community Service Crew Supervisors spend more time with clients than any other staff member. We use this time to try and connect individuals with referrals to job training programs, treatment, and GED programs. The community service crew has learned how to approach clients according to their needs including mental health, homelessness, physical disability, anger issues, family issues, substances abuse, and others.
We also care for the community by addressing issues and concerns by listening to the community. We attend Community Board Meetings, keep our eye on the news for Bronx events, and talk to community members about their concerns so we can plan impactful community service projects that utilize community partners.
3) 2. Partnering with community organizations.
By partnering with other organizations such as the Parks Department, Sanitation Department, Department of Transportation, Police Department, World Vision, Catholics Charities, Sustainable South Bronx, local business owners, Family Court, Probation, and the Bronx Defenders we are able to offer community service to nearly 10,000 clients per year. We are also able to effectively serve the community and make a greater impact than we could on our own. The willingness to be flexible strengthens our bond with the community.
4. Ensuring accuracy in reporting.
Reporting to the Court with accuracy is essential to an effective community service program. We work closely with our community partners to ensure we receive attendance sheets in a timely fashion, and have recently begun sending and receiving lists electronically.
The community service crew is a team, and this team is part of the larger Bronx Community Solutions team and the Center for Court Innovation team. We have worked hard to understand how each part affects the whole. The program has set goals individually and together to ensure that we are always reaching new heights. The team has also learned about each other’s weaknesses and strengths and has helped each team member reach their full potential. We have provided opportunities for team members to Learn new skills so they can become a leader at the job, in the community, and in their personal life.