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Neon Arts Engages Community Members and Probation Clients With New Citywide Projects This Spring 

Carnegie Hall Contact: Eli Rumpf | Tel: 212-903-9752 | E-mail:
NYC Dept. of Probation Contact: Candace Sandy | Tel: 212-361-8957 | E-mail:

NeON Arts Program Connects Local Artists and Arts Organizations with Probation Clients
Throughout New York City, Creating Programming Available To The Whole Community

(March 11, 2015; NEW YORK, NY)— Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Probation (DOP) today announced the names of ten New York City organizations selected for the upcoming four-month installment of NeON Arts, a citywide arts education initiative created by the DOP, running from March – June 2015.

The ten organizations selected to create new programming for NeON Arts are:

Bedford-Stuyvesant: CUNY Creative Arts Team
Brownsville: The Animation Project and Xmental
East New York: Xmental
Harlem: Maysles Documentary Center and Life Light Street Productions
Jamaica: Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning
South Bronx: Free Verse, Maysles Documentary Center and Renaissance Youth Center
Staten Island: New York Center for Interpersonal Development

Launched in spring 2014, NeON Arts offers young people in New York City, including those on probation, the chance to explore the arts through projects in a variety of disciplines, including dance, music, theater, visual arts, poetry, and digital media. Programming is available in seven communities that are served by the DOP’s Neighborhood Opportunity Networks (NeONs), which connect local residents to opportunities, resources, and services provided by businesses, community organizations, and government agencies in their neighborhoods.

The seven NeON neighborhoods are Bedford-Stuyvesant (Brooklyn), Brownsville (Brooklyn), East New York (Brooklyn), Harlem (Manhattan), South Jamaica (Queens), Staten Island, and the South Bronx.

Final events for these projects will take place in early summer 2015 with details to be announced. For information on upcoming NeON Arts public programs and events from the current session of NeON Arts projects, including a Bronx Showcase at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday, March 24 that will feature music, film and poetry created by South Bronx NeON participants, please visit

As a leader in creating arts programming for justice settings and an ongoing partner of the DOP, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute facilitates the grant-making process, coordinates citywide NeON Arts events, and works with arts organizations and NeON stakeholders to ensure that the planning and implementation of each project are a collaboration that benefits the entire community.

An integral part of the development of NeON Arts has been the direct involvement of local community members. Participating arts organizations were selected by local NeON stakeholders who are comprised of people on probation, DOP staff, key members of the community, and local businesses.

About the March – June 2015 NeON Arts Organizations

The Animation Project is an organization dedicated to using digital art technology as a therapeutic medium and a workforce development tool with at-risk youth. TAP will teach Brownsville NeON participants how to create an original computer animated video using professional digital art computer programs. Participants will then share the animation they created at a public screening for the community.

CUNY Creative Arts Team uses the transformative power of drama to help youth and adults succeed in school, work and life. Over the course of 16 weeks, CAT will lead a series of drama-based workshops and activities. Participants will work with CAT Actor-Teachers to focus on issues drawn from their own lives, dynamically challenge perceptions and behaviors, and use the content to shape a culminating event to share with the community – while practicing new skills for success.

Free Verse, the journal of poetry and prose born in the probation center waiting room in the South Bronx NeON, will host a poetry program for community members alongside poetry workshops to create an informal learning environment in which poetry serves as the pathway to better prospects in life.

The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning offers visual, performing and literary arts, arts education and artists’ programs to contribute to the cultural enrichment of Queens and the Greater Metropolitan area. JCAL will work with participants to develop an original investigative theater piece based on true stories of teens growing up in Jamaica.

Life Light Street Productions uses media production training to introduce young adults to documentary film production and college/career exploration. Life Light will partner with the Maysles Documentary Center to engage Harlem NeON participants and community members to work in small teams to create short documentaries on issues important to them and their communities.

The Maysles Documentary Center is a Harlem-based non-profit film arts organization dedicated to the production and exhibition of documentary films that inspire dialogue and action. MDC will work with South Bronx NeON participants and community members on short documentaries, and partner with Life Light Street Productions at the Harlem NeON.

New York Center for Interpersonal Development is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the improvement of human relationships and the strengthening of communities as fundamental to achieving a civil society. NYCID will lead culinary workshops for Staten Island NeON participants in partnership with Post Richmond High School, culminating in a banquet dinner for members of the community.

Renaissance Youth Center uses a holistic approach to empower at-risk inner city youth to fully maximize their potential as productive and responsible members of society, by offering dynamic, team-building education, music, and sports programs, while instilling the importance of building strong communities. Renaissance will offer weekly vocal and instrumental lessons to South Bronx NeON participants that highlight songwriting, arranging, jam sessions, recording, and public performance.

Xmental is a coalition of community organizers, artists, and teachers committed to mentoring and educating urban youth through art and creative projects. The organization will introduce Brownsville and East New York NeON participants to the basics of graffiti art while also teaching the difference between legal and illegal graffiti. The organization will then host a public viewing and auction of art alongside performances by local hip-hop artists.

* * * *

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.

The NYC Young Men’s Initiative (YMI) transforms lives by connecting young men of color with the tools they need to succeed. YMI views each young man as a valuable asset to his family, his community and his city. It invests in our common future by providing Black and Latino young men with innovative programs, services and policy solutions focused on education, employment, health and justice. By focusing New York City’s resources in a smart and strategic way, this unprecedented public-private partnership has created a global model for helping young men to reach their goals, break the poverty cycle and build stronger communities. To learn more about YMI, visit:

Third Issue of Free Verse Now Available! 

Free Verse is a journal of prose and poetry created by and for probation clients in our South Bronx Neighborhood Opportunity Network, or NeON. The project is led by Dave Johnson, the NeON’s poet-in-residence, and Lonni Tanner of See ChangeNYC, an initiative of NYD Department of Design and Construction.  The journal is more than just an inspiring concept and a beautiful design—it also contains some truly moving poetry. Read Free Verse.

Paid Sick Leave & Universal Pre-K 

Paid Sick Leave 

Universal Pre-K  

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.
Eleven organizations currently have NeON Arts programming underway in seven NeON communities:

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant: The Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions and Xmental 
  • Brownsville: Young New Yorkers
  • East New York: ARTs East New York
  • Harlem: Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, Roundabout Theatre Company, and Voices UnBroken
  • South Bronx: Free Verse, Music Beyond Measure, and Voices UnBroken
  • South Jamaica: Life Light Street Productions
  • Staten Island: The Animation Project

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.

Important Announcement For All Manhattan Probation Clients Reporting to the Kiosk Machines

As of February 1, the Manhattan kiosks have been relocated to 66 John Street, 4th floor. Click here or see below for a map:

DIRECTIONS: John St. between William & Nassau.
Take the A, C, J, Z, 2, 3, 4, 5 trains to Fulton St. station.

Please see the kiosk attendant or your Probation Officer for more info.

You should continue reporting on the week of your birthday.

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 or call 212-361-8969. 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.

DOP Receives Excellence in Community Crime Prevention Award from the American Probation and Parole Association

On January 12, the American Probation and Parole Association presented the Excellence in Community Crime Prevention Award to the NYC Department of Probation (DOP) at their national Winter Training Meeting in Houston. The award recognized DOP’s Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON), a groundbreaking initiative that consists of seven community-based probation offices that work with local organizations, government agencies, businesses, and community residents to link probation clients to nearby opportunities and services. DOP also operates seven NeON Satellites, which are co-located at community-based organizations. DOP Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi was on hand to receive the award.
“The Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON) was born from a simple idea: the best way for us to enhance public safety is to become a valued and contributing member of the communities where large numbers of our clients live,” said Probation Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi. “While we still have a long way to go, receiving this prestigious award is further proof that we’re on the right track. On behalf of everyone at the NYC Department of Probation and our many community partners, I’d like to thank the American Probation and Parole Association for this honor.”

DO MORE GOOD: A Progress Report from the NYC Department of Probation

DOP is in the midst of a transformation that has involved community stakeholders and every level of the agency, from support staff to probation officers to senior leaders. Working together, we have built on a strong foundation to establish DOP as a national leader in the probation field.

Even as we continue to implement and innovate, we thought it was important to take a step back and put our accomplishments in context. We are proud to share the result with you:

DO MORE GOOD: A Progress Report from the NYC Department of Probation (also available as a PDF).

We hope you will read this report in the spirit it was created: As a tribute to our staff, our partners, and every client who has met us halfway and used their time on probation as an opportunity to get their life back on track.

News for Clients

GED Changes in 2014:

As of January 2014, 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.

RAP Sheet Assistance Project

Have you encountered trouble finding work or housing because of errors in your criminal record?

There are community-based providers who can help you clean up your RAP sheet - and it’s FREE!

Below is information on the participating providers: 

Are you 24 or older? Contact one of these organizations:

Are you under 24?

Community Service Society

Legal Action

The Bronx Defenders

Youth Represent

102 East 22nd St
(near Park Ave)
(212) 614-5428
*By appointment only

225 Varick St, 4th Fl
(near W. Houston St)
(212) 243-1313
*By appointment only
360 East 161st St
(near Courtland Ave)
(718) 838-7878
108 Leonard St
(near Lafayette St)
(212) 553-6655
Information Center

Get an ID
Having an ID (identification) is one of the keys to success.  Don't have one?  Visit the ID= website for help.

Register to Vote

Many probation clients are eligible to vote despite having a criminal record. Learn more about who is eligible to vote.