The city will spend $3.65 million to give roughly 3,300 young people in paid 6 to 8 week online summer youth programs this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday.
About 2,700 teens and young adults from some of the communities hardest hit by the novel coronavirus like Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York, Harlem, Jamaica, Queens, the South Bronx and North Staten Island, will take part in mentorship programs and paid learning opportunities with “NeON Summer.” The city will work to recruit young people that are under probation, supervision, or engaged in family court in order to reach “at risk” youth, according to Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson.
A total of 40 cohorts divided by age will complete the program this summer, Thompson said. The city’s second summer program, called “Each One Teach One, “will offer 120 young people an opportunity to design media campaigns encouraging other young New Yorkers to abide by social distance rules. Participating kids will be mentored by media experts and receive a stipend for one month.
Thompson did not provide details on the media experts.
He said that the city would spend $220,000 to expand and support the on-going work of the Community Crisis Response Initiative, which has given $10,000 to 22 local community-based youth-focused organizations providing 500 young people work in helping their communities recover from the pandemic.
“These are initiatives that we are going to get to young people that I think are going to make a profound impact on their lives,” said de Blasio on Thursday.
The mayor added he will host a series of town halls where young people can voice their concerns about policing with NYPD officers. Members of the Cure Violence Movement will be facilitate the conversations.
“The more we talk openly in this city, the better off we’ll be,” said de Blasio.
On June 7, the mayor announced that the city would shift $1 billion of the NYPD’s 2021 budget to youth services after nearly two weeks of non-stop protests against police brutality in the city. For the majority of the protests, the mayor opposed any budget cuts to the city law enforcement and received criticism for repeatedly supporting the NYPD despite repeated incidents of officers violently breaking up peaceful protests.
“It’s not always easy, sometimes it’s painful, sometimes there will be emotion to say the least about the power of these issues but… we want to address these issues head-on, we don’t want to sweep them under the rug, that will not help us move forward,” de Blasio added.
This story first appeared on amny.com.