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Harlem NeON Sports Prepares Youth for Pathway to Success

On Saturday, October 14th youth from Harlem presented a martial arts demonstration, belt promotions, and an award’s ceremony as part of NeON Sports℠ a program of the New York City Department of Probation (DOP) in partnership New Breed Life Arts & Educational Association, Inc. (NBLA). Young people ages 5-24 showcased traditional forms and some created by the competitors, which add some gymnastic elements designed to measurably improve their physical fitness, sports knowledge, self-esteem, confidence, learn the benefits of goal-setting and practice.  NBLA utilizes the martial arts belt system paired and with real-life lessons to help young people set and achieve goals, overcome challenges and find their own pathway to success.

NeON Sports℠ offers free sports programs for young people in New York City, including those on probation, through projects in a variety of disciplines, including swimming, basketball, tennis, horseback riding, gymnastics, aerobics, and track.  The programs are based in seven community-based probation offices called Neighborhood Opportunity Networks (NeON’s). Working as teams, NeON Sports℠ promotes community integration, decreases stigma, highlights talent, and develops the social and professional skills of all participating youth. The seven NeON neighborhoods are Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York, Harlem, South Jamaica, Staten Island, and the South Bronx.

NeON Nutrition Kitchens

Food, rent and utilities are expensive. And, many New Yorkers struggle to feed their families. That’s why the Department of Probation has opened five NeON Nutrition Kitchens throughout the city. These neighborhood food pantries help people transitioning from the justice system to stay on the right track. But you don’t have to be on probation to come to a NeON Nutrition Kitchen – one day each week, the Nutrition Kitchens are open to residents of the local community.  When you visit a NeON Nutrition Kitchen, you’ll get free, nutritious groceries and great service.

NeON ArtsSM as a Model for Achieving “Culture and Social Well Being” in New York City

A ground-breaking University of Pennsylvania study assessing the impact of the arts on New York City neighborhoods of concentrated disadvantage found that the presence of cultural resources has a significant positive impact on a neighborhood’s health, the outcome of it’s schools and it’s crime rate. 

The findings include:

  • A 14% decrease in cases of child abuse and neglect
  • An 18% increase in kids scoring in the top stratum on English and math exams 
  • An 18% decrease in the serious crime rate

The report makes three profound conclusions each of which is addressed by the NeON Arts model.


NeON Arts Brings Music, Theater, Dance, Digital Media & More to NYC Neighborhoods

NeON Arts is a public/private initiative that funds local arts projects in seven communities that are home to significant numbers of people on probation.  Through NeON Arts local artists and community members collaborate on projects in a variety of artistic modalities including dance, music, theater, visual art, poetry, and digital media. In addition to creating meaningful art projects that benefit local communities, participants learn important new skills and develop positive peer relationships.

See what's in store at the Staten Island NeON. Click here .

A calendar of free public events to be presented this spring by NeON Arts in all locations will be posted online in May.  Click here to find addresses for all NeON locations

For information about applying for NeON Arts funding:      

NeON Arts is a program of the NYC Department of Probation in partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute.  Funding provided by the Open Society Foundations through a grant to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City in support of the NYC Young Men's Initiative.

Do You Want to Go To College or Learn a Trade?

DOP announces Connecting NYC Youth to Educational Opportunities (NYC YES) , a new program that will connect probation clients to organizations that can help them enroll in college or a vocational training program.  

Interested? Talk to your Probation Officer, click HERE to sign up. Eligibility requirements:

  • 16-24 years old
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED

NYC YES is a partnership between DOP and the Clinton Global Initiative .

Paid Sick Leave & Universal Pre-K  

Paid Sick Leave  

Universal Pre-K   

News for Clients

The GED has been replaced in New York State by the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) which will continue to lead students to a High School Equivalency (HSE) Diploma.

Here are some updates on the new test:

  • The test is free
  • The test is available in English and Spanish
  • The test is comprised of 5 sections: English Language Arts Reading, 2) English language Arts Writing, 3) Mathematics, 4) Science and 5) Social Studies
  • The test is linked to the Common Core Standards, which will better prepare students to be career and job ready
  • The test will become more difficult through 2017 when Common Core Standards are fully implemented
  • Computer based testing will be phased in through 2017, but there will always be a paper based version
  • Partial passing scores from the previous GED test will be allowed for 2 years (2014 and 2015) to count towards the new HSE test
  • The website for the Department of Education provides additional information on how students can prepare for the test; the information can be accessed at  or by calling 718-557-2525
  • Students can also visit the official TASC website (with sample items for the 2014 test) at

Clients can always speak with their probation officers about enrolling into an HSE program.

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