BCS Community Service Staff Participate in Development Training

Bronx Community Solutions ADP crew conducting a neighborhood cleanup in April 2012

On January 30-31, the Bronx Community Solutions Community Service Department took part in a two-day staff development training. What follows is a description by T.K. Singleton, Coordinator of Community Initiatives, who was one of the facilitators of the program. 
A Year In Review: Bronx Community Service Department Professional Staff Development Training
Bronx Community Solutions (BCS) Community Service Crew One operates five days a week cleaning and beautifying the area around the Bronx Criminal Courthouse as well as outlying Bronx neighborhoods. On certain days they operate two separate community service crews to expand the reach of their efforts.  In 2012, Bronx Community Solutions Crew completed 365 community service projects throughout the Bronx. This is in addition to the community service work completed by our participants through other community partner sites.
To review our work in 2012, as well as discuss plans for the following year, we held a professional staff development training over a period of two days. The goal was to review what worked and what didn't regarding our community service efforts in 2012, as well as brainstorm on ways to improve in the future.
On the first day we worked with a clinician from Bronx Futures to coordinate an adolescent-focused community service training. Since 2012, we have been running a type of community service that is tailored to youth as part of our Adolescent Diversion Program (ADP). BCS community service crew supervisors had the opportunity to hear about what is important to young adults, what their needs are and how they think. For some of our crew supervisors, it helped them to reflect on themselves at that age. It was an impactful day for our staff.
BCS Intake Specialist Omar Camacho facilitates one of our ADP social service classes as well as assists in supervising one of the ADP community service crews once per week. He took part in the training and had the following to say about this portion of the training:

"Yesterday I was able to attend a staff development training for our ADP (Adolescent Diversion Program), which works with 16 and 17-year-olds involved the criminal justice system. The meeting was more of a refresher/reminder for me that we have to be more sensitive and open to our youth clients than we would be with our adults. We have to put ourselves in their shoes and remember what was important to us when we were at that age, and what we expected from adults as far as guidance and support. What I take back from this training is that we should have more empathy and understanding when we are engaging with our youth clients."
- Omar Camacho, Intake Specialist
The next day, the training focused on the best ways to effectively communicate with and have an effect upon our community service participants. Our work with our clients is brief by nature -- they generally have short-term mandates (an average sentence of 3-5 days), and so we discussed how best we can have an impact upon their lives within such a brief window of opportunity. We decided that it is important to do two things with our clients: find the time to briefly connect with each person individually, and provide them with printed materials that outline the resources available to them through Bronx Community Solutions and invite them to return to our office for voluntary services. By doing this we hope to establish community service as a tool that can affect change not only in the community but also in a client’s life.
Each year, we strive to better community service for all parties we serve. This training helped us to look at the needs of the community and of the clients. We had the opportunity to talk about which partnerships work well and what new partners we will seek out so that we can better serve the community in 2013 and beyond.

- T.K. Singleton, Coordinator of Community Initiatives

The community service program at Bronx Community Solutions was certainly busy in 2012. BCS participants contributed 74,690 hours of community service work to the Bronx last year, providing the city with an estimated savings of $541,502*.

*Calculated using the current minimum wage rate, $7.25/hour times 7 hours of work each day