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Young Adults participating in afternoon Engagement Session. (Photo by Pete Mikoleski)
Future NYCHA Resident Leaders in the Making

“Leadership happens by initiation, not invitation. The change is you,” President of the Citywide Council of Presidents Reginald Bowman told the more than 65 attendees at the first-ever NYCHA Young Adult Engagement Session on Aug. 19.  The Engagement Session allowed NYCHA’s potential future resident leaders to share their thoughts about NYCHA’s job training programs and the Green City Force, a nonprofit that prepares young people for careers in the emerging green economy.   

“This event allowed us to bounce ideas off each other. We can help the community and help by getting involved,” said Carolyn Wilson, a resident of Red Hook East Houses in Brooklyn and a Green City Force employee.

Twenty-two-year-old Emmanuel Lopez from Atlantic Terminal Houses in Brooklyn shared his experiences of being the youngest Resident Association President in any development. Inspired to run after hearing President Obama’s election victory speech, he explained that he wanted a change in his community. After being in office for more than a year, Mr. Lopez said that he has faced adversity about his age but it comes with the territory. “Every leadership has its ups and downs,” said Mr. Lopez.

Eastchester Garden Houses (Bronx) resident Jocelyn Cruz, said that a lack of advertisement of NYCHA programs is a big problem in getting residents involved in initiatives. “A key component in outreach is to connect with the young community,” said Ms. Cruz, who encouraged her peers to connect to NYCHA resources through social media networks. “I’m a proud Facebook liker of the NYCHA page,” she said.

As the session ended, 20 residents volunteered to participate in the Young Adult Council as leaders and liaisons in their communities.

Residents who wish to learn more about Green City Force job training opportunities can visit their website at greencityforce.org. Residents interested in learning more about NYCHA job training opportunities should call (718) 289-8100.

By Starr Lane
Sept. 14, 2011