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Friday, October 30, 2015

BCS Launches DAT-Y Initiative!

We’re going into our third week of the DAT-Y (Desk Appearance Ticket-Youth) Program here at BCS and we couldn’t be more excited about the success we’ve seen so far!  The DAT-Y Program, modeled after the successful programing at BJI (Brooklyn Justice Initiatives), is an early diversion initiative specifically designed for adolescents' ages 16 and 17 years old issued a desk appearance ticket for non-violent offenses. This program allows compliant participants to receive a same-day  dismissal and seal for successful completion of DAT-Y programming!

Cases will be screened to ensure the appropriate DAT-Y eligibility criteria which includes: current non-violent arrest (including marijuana possession, theft of services, petit larceny), cases not involving orders of protection, cases with no current open misdemeanors or felonies, and cases with no warrant history or prior conviction.

Elizabeth Swan, Willie Bernardez, Justin Briggs, and Omar Camacho have all been vital BCS additions to our ADP program when it comes to facilitating and ensuring the success of DAT-Y. Elizabeth and Willie have been tasked with screening each case to determine further eligibility, explaining the initiative and compliance criteria, and identifying additional special needs. All cases accepted into DAT-Y programming are then adjourned for a 4pm second call. In the interim, all participants join in on the 3-hour (plus lunch) session with BCS staff. The 1st session includes components of community mapping (led by Omar and myself) and the 2nd session focuses on cognitive behavior and motivation for youth using illegal substances (led by Justin and myself). Within our first two weeks, we’ve had 25 program graduates from the DAT-Y Program. We look forward to bringing the success that BJI initiated in Brooklyn to the Bronx, and beyond!

-          Serena Powery, Youth Justice Social Worker

Thursday, October 01, 2015

BCS Hosts CAB Meeting with Community Partners

What better way for Bronx Community Solutions (BCS) to connect with many of our major community partners at once than though the Community Advisory Board (CAB) meeting? Our last CAB meeting was held last Friday, September 25th and was led by Maria Almonte-Weston and Monica Garcia. Unlike many previous meetings, where we placed our focus on what issues have arisen in each community organization’s district, we concentrated on the goals of CAB and the next steps for Bronx Community Solutions. This meeting's agenda was to expand upon the priorities for action that the CAB agreed upon at our last meeting, in June 2015. Our agenda also included the opportunity for staff to share the recent accomplishments we have achieved as well as include members in formulating goals for the upcoming year. Some of these recent successes include the Community Service department completion of numerous projects to enhance the community such as the beautification/back-to-school event at Bryant Hill Garden in the Hunts Point area and doing beautification work and garden cleanup on River Avenue, the Yankee Stadium area at the request of the 161st BID. Aside from conducting community service and maintaining partnerships that we have had for years, we have also decided to strategically explore new employment and vocational training connections to match the current needs of BCS clients. The BCS staff strives to provide meaningful services to clients along with keeping neighboring organizations involved. These meetings help to not only keep our partners informed, but gives some well-deserved accolades to the hardworking staff who made these events happen. I enjoyed being a part of the meeting and hearing again from our partners what matters most to them in their communities, and what they need from BCS.

- Tiffany Barksdale, Office Manager