National Impact Community: Yonkers, NY
About the Applicant
Founded in 1938, the Nepperhan Community Center provides a safe, nurturing environment where the educational, social, spiritual, and emotional needs of children of all ages are addressed. The Community Center offers academic enrichment and cultural arts sessions; sports activities; and workshops focusing on building self-esteem, self confidence, conflict resolution, and team building.
About the Project
Using best practices for age-appropriate programming the Community Center will serve 250 boys and young men of color organized in groups by age and stages of development. The groups served include participants from the following Yonkers MBK programs: Rites of Passage, the College/Career Readiness, and the Manhood Training Program.
Programming will include group mentoring, case management, and wraparound support services. Each student will participate in two 90-minute group mentoring sessions per week, for 26 weeks each year. Group mentoring sessions will focus on providing participants with tools and skills to improve their social, emotional, educational, and financial well-being. One session each week will focus on violence prevention, equipping participants with conflict management, mediation, and problem solving tools and strategies. Weekly case management and wraparound services will be provided by three full-time case managers to track and support participant progress.
These sessions will be led by staff from SNUG/Cure Violence, a program of the Yonkers YMCA and a national model for reducing urban violence. Multiple evaluations have shown the Cure Violence model in Yonkers has significantly reduced shootings, violent confrontations, and homicides. In particular, Yonkers saw a 34-month stretch without a shooting or homicide.
Since becoming an MBK Alliance National Impact Community, The Nepperhan Community Center has been deepening relationships with partner organizations and launched its Manhood Training program for incarcerated young men of color.
To kick off the partnership with MBK Alliance, the Community Center hosted an Obama Foundation Community Impact Award Launch and Gateway Academy Career and College Fair for nearly 1,500 attendees. This launch event included significant community partner participation.
Furthering their efforts to support boys and young men of color in Yonkers and across New York state, the Community Center launched their Manhood Training program in partnership with the Westchester County Department of Correction. Boys and young men of color who are currently incarcerated and participating in the program will get a dedicated area of the correctional facility to reside—a historic first in the United States.
Manhood Training participants will also wear customized uniforms while in the correctional facility, clearly identifying them as a Yonkers MBK program participants and reducing the stigma of the traditional orange correctional facility attire. They will have access to video conference equipment, allowing them to talk with mentors, social workers, and other stakeholders while they are in the Yonkers MBK program. Further, a computer lab is scheduled to be installed that will allow participants access to continuing learning opportunities.