Ward 1 Alderwoman Sarah Eidelson ’12 stood before the Board of Aldermen during a Wednesday night meeting to spearhead two resolutions that would allocate resources to develop New Haven’s youth facilities and launch programs aiming to reinforce positive social norms among children and teens.
As chair of the board’s youth services committee, Eidelson proposed that the city’s engineering department allocate $200,000 to rehabilitate existing youth-serving public spaces, as well as plan and design new facilities. She also submitted a resolution authorizing Mayor John DeStefano Jr. to apply for and accept a $250,000 grant from the state’s Judicial Branch at the beginning of next year that would create programs for youth job training, leadership, mentorship, mediation and violence prevention. The board unanimously approved both resolutions.
Eidelson called the resolutions “important steps forward” in addressing a “comprehensive youth agenda,” which the board unanimously defined as a “legislative priority” in January, she said. The initiatives promise to provide “ample opportunities” for teens to lead “healthy, safe productive lives and reinforce making good choices” by running rehabilitative programs, Eidelson wrote in the resolution.
The passage of a concrete fiscal plan for New Haven youth marks a victory for the board’s youth services committee, which met in early September to investigate an overhaul of existing programs and set goals for increasing job availability, after-school programs and nonprofit services.
Ward 17 Alderman Alphonse Paolillo Jr., the board’s majority leader, commended Eidelson for her leadership on the committee and expressed his hope for further cooperation in the process of allocating the funds. Eidelson collaborated on the resolutions with Ward 5 Alderman Jorge Perez and Ward 23 Alderwoman Tyisha Walker, a longtime advocate of youth issues in New Haven who urged her colleagues to support the initiatives during the meeting.
“These two items will help the city of New Haven provide safe spaces and programs for youth that will help them deal with the issues they face daily,” Walker said.
The resolutions also called for a second $500,000 grant from the state that would “strengthen and expand” youth violence prevention programs during the 2014–’15 fiscal year, Eidelson said.
One beneficiary of the grant for youth spaces is the Dixwell Community “Q” House, which will receive $40,000. Located on Dixwell Avenue, it fell into disrepair after being open for 80 years, but local youth petitioned to revive the center in January, the New Haven Register reported.