There is an old African Proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The Broome County Gang Prevention (BCGP) aims to be part of the community making a positive impact on Binghamton’s Youth. Housed in the Saratoga and Carlisle Community Centers at the Binghamton Housing Authority, the program serves youth, ages 6 through 18, from the surrounding communities, through afterschool and summer programming. BCGP provides quality, fun, educational activities while developing trust amongst participants and staff to build healthy, positive relationships.
Tim*, a high school student in the Binghamton City School District, had the opportunity to participate in some of these enriching activities.
Through collaborative efforts with other local programs and organizations, children who participate in BCGP, including Tim, are exposed to memorable learning experiences from across community sectors. Events with First Responders allow youth to explore different career fields, for example, viewing demonstrations featuring K-9 Units. Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments, VINES, works with children to educate them about nutrition and healthy eating and provides fresh produce for local families. Binghamton City School District physical education teachers participate in the summer program to expose participants to various sports, including golf.
As youth age out of the program, one thing that remains strong is the relationships built with Program Staff. Youth in the community can experience trauma in various ways; Impacts of the criminal Justice System, housing insecurity, lack of affordable quality housing, or a tragedy like a house fire. In these times of need, Program participants can and have leaned on the staff with who they have developed strong relationships. In response, the Broome County Gang Prevention staff worked relentlessly to assist Tim in finding a new home, and a means to keep him on the right track. Today, Tim not only has furthered his social and emotional development but also has an apartment, steady employment, and a group of people celebrating his successes. All children should have access to the services, supports, and opportunities they need to thrive at every stage of life. The efforts of Broome County Gang Prevention’s staff and advocates are working to create a significant impact in the lives of the community’s youth. Tim is one of the many success stories; however, the work for solutions continues. You can be a part of this work. Invest in United Way of Broome County to see positive change in our community.