FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 7, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG JOINS YOUTH VOLUNTEERS PARTICIPATING IN THE SUMMER OF SERVICE PROGRAM
Summer of Service is One of the More than 40 Initiatives in the NYC Service Program
More than 1,000 Youths from the Summer Youth Employment Program Volunteer to Perform Two Days of Community Service at Parks and Public Housing Developments
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today joined Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Jeanne B. Mullgrav, Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford, New York City Housing Authority Chairman John Rhea and New York Cares Executive Director Gary Bagley to work with volunteers participating in an NYC Service volunteer program called the "Summer of Service." The program brings 1,000 volunteers from the City's Summer Youth Employment Program to public housing developments and parks throughout the City to dedicate two days of volunteer service. The Mayor joined volunteers at the South Jamaica Houses, where approximately 335 volunteers were creating planter boxes, adding plants to existing beds, composting, mulching, and weeding.
"More than 40 years ago, America celebrated the 'Summer of Love.' This year, we're celebrating a 'Summer of Service' - summer days when we mobilize young people to give back and make an impact," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The young people working today are demonstrating their love for our city, love for their neighborhoods and a love of serving. We have 1,000 participants in the City's Summer Youth Employment Program volunteering in parks and public housing developments all across the City today. It's all a part of our new, pioneering campaign NYC Service, which is tapping the power of New Yorkers that want to serve to address the challenges faced by our communities. One of our three key goals with NYC Service is to ensure every young person in New York City is taught about civic engagement and has an opportunity to serve - and Summer of Service is a great step in that direction."
"We know that New York City's young people want to give back. In fact, 44,888 of those who applied to the Summer Youth Employment Program this year expressed interest in service opportunities," said Commissioner Mullgrav. "NYC Service introduces young people to the rewards of service and encourages them to seek out additional volunteer opportunities."
"The youth participating in this program are truly helping to make NYCHA a greener and better place for our residents, while also learning the true spirit of service to the community," said New York City Housing Authority Chairman Rhea. "The pride that comes from serving others and making a lasting impact can only point to these youths becoming important future leaders in our City. They are to be commended."
"By participating in today's event, these young people have done more than broaden their Summer Youth Employment experience; they have provided an important service to New York City and their country," said Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford. "NYC Service is a direct answer to President Obama's call to serve, and I am truly proud to be a witness to such amazing work. The collective service we are seeing today is a powerful statement about this generation's commitment to service and I encourage all that are involved to stay involved."
"New York Cares applauds the more than 1,000 youth volunteers who've come out this summer in service to the city," said Executive Director of New York Cares Gary Bagley. "Today's project in South Jamaica is a powerful example of the amazing impact young people can have in strengthening our communities. New York Cares planned the volunteer projects for this initiative with the Department of Youth and Community Development, the New York City Housing Authority, and the Parks Department. We're gratified to be a partner with NYC Service, and congratulate Mayor Bloomberg for his continued leadership in making New York City the national model for citizen and youth service."
The Department of Youth and Community Development, the New York City Housing Authority, the Department of Parks and Recreation and New York Cares collaborated to organize five service projects - one in each borough - on July 24th and August 7th for the Summer of Service participants. The projects are occurring at City parks and public housing developments where the Department of Youth and Community Development is administering Beacon Satellite Community Centers. The projects feature sustainability improvements such as building planter boxes, enhancing existing green spaces, watering trees, and cleaning up beaches. Nike is donating sneakers to Summer of Service participants.
The Summer of Service volunteers worked on July 24th at the Bronx River Houses (Bronx), the Johnson Houses (Manhattan), at Forest Park (Queens), the Midland/South Beaches (Staten Island) and the Sumner Houses (Brooklyn). Today, the volunteers are working at Crotona Park (Bronx), Riverside Park (Manhattan), the Stapleton Houses (Staten Island), the South Jamaica Houses (Queens) and at Prospect Park (Brooklyn).
NYC Service was launched by Mayor Bloomberg in April to meet his State of the City pledge for New York City to lead the nation in answering President Obama's national call to service. The program has three core goals: channel the power of volunteers to address the impacts of the current economic downturn, make New York City the easiest city in America in which to serve, and ensure every young person in New York City is taught about civic engagement and has an opportunity to serve. NYC Service aims to drive volunteer resources to six impacts areas where New York City's needs are greatest: strengthening communities, helping neighbors in need, education, health, emergency preparedness and the environment. New Yorkers can find opportunities to serve their communities by visiting www.nyc.gov or by calling 311.
Numerous local business, large corporations, public institutions and civic-minded individuals have donated to the Summer of Service project, including: Apple, Angel Barber Shop, Best Buy, Borders Book Store, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Boulders, Brooklyn Cyclones, BX Sports, C-Town, Caridad Restaurant, Champs Sports, Delicioso Coco Helado, DJ Aztec Productions, Domino's Pizza, Dunkin' Donuts, El Mundo, Erundina's Hair Stylist, Eve's Barber Shop, Foot Locker, GameStop, Gary Giordano, Elma Harris, Hyperactive Clothing Store, The Image Store, John Fuentes, JPZ Entertainment, Kingsboro Community College, Major League Baseball, Mazorkan Barbershop, Al McDonald, McDonald's, Modell's, Most Wanted Motor Sports, National Basketball Association, New Image Hair Salon, New York Giants, New York Liberty, NY Flavor, Popeye's Chicken, Ridgewood Savings Bank, Roxy Nail Salon, Samuel's Barber Shop, Star Shoe Repair, Total Blend Restaurant, United Media, Urban Tech, Yadiry Unisex Salon, and Yogi Restaurant.
Stu Loeser/Marc La Vorgna (212) 788-2958
Ryan Dodge (Youth & Community Development)
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