The BCS clinic is continuously working to develop new partnerships while strengthening existing relationships with community programs that provide our clients with diverse services, including educational, vocational, mental health, and temporary housing. Currently, one of our most pressing needs is to establish connections with providers that can serve our adolescent clients, ages 16-19.
One of our staff members, Monica Garcia, has taken on the new role of Resource and Referral Program Manager, connecting with community providers and establishing formal linkage agreements. One such provider was The DOME Project. The Developing Opportunities through Meaningful Education (DOME) Project is a non-profit organization that specializes in working with economically, socially, and academically disadvantaged youth. We were able to use this new linkage as a six month alternative-to-incarceration recommendation for a 17 year-old defendant facing jail time.
Monica has also worked to increase the employment services provided by long-standing BCS partner, Employment Works (EW), to whom we’ve referred 25 clients this year alone. Currently, BCS and EW are working to develop a curriculum for a social service group that will focus on job-readiness and other employment-related issues. The projected start date of this group is October 2013.
In July, Youth Justice Social Worker, Rebecca Stahl, and Pinkerton Fellow, Janer Cordero, implemented a new workshop for ADP community service:
“Bronx Community Solutions (BCS) has revamped its service learning projects by incorporating a “Community Awareness“ group that runs concurrently with the community service mandate for Adolescent Diversion Project (ADP) clients. The group is meant to complement the participants’ community service experience, and elucidate the pivotal role that a community has for personal development along with its capacity to serve as a preventive measure against crime. Another objective of this project is to highlight the responsibilities within a community that are designated on an individualistic, community, and institutional level, and demonstrate that the health of the community is interconnected with the health and actions of the individual. This group is meant to make community service more meaningful for the ADP population, and hopefully encourage a paradigm shift of the criminal justice system, their community, and consequently of themselves.”
By Pinkerton fellow: Janer Cordero
Finally, our STARS case manager, Melissa Novock implemented the first ever “Yoga: Pathway to Healing” free workshop in the courthouse:
“In Mid-July I created the following class: “Yoga: A Path to Healing” a transformative project created for survivors of trauma, specifically for women who are survivors of sex trafficking, prostitution, and intimate partner violence. The class is part of a social service group which focuses on tapping into what I call, “our awareness quotient.” Participants can attend on a voluntary basis. This practice provides the space where clients can find a sense of peace and alleviate some of their suffering. They leave with a smile, standing a bit taller and saying things like, “Wow, I didn’t know we could do all of this, in a court building!” and “I am going to take this breathing practice with me so that when I feel angry or sad.”
"One client, who has been working with BCS for over 2 years, voluntarily came to several sessions. She was "inspired" from our yoga classes; so inspired, that she even brought her Mother to join her! Both women were happy to take the peace they gained from our sessions beyond the courtroom doors back to their community.”
By: Melissa Novock, STARS case manager
…..we are excited for all these new social service opportunities and partnerships. Bronx Community Solutions will continue to search for other community providers and establish additional linkages in order to better serve our adolescent and adult populations.
Marsha Brown, M. Phil
Clinical Coordinator, Bronx Community Solutions