Community Connections for Youth: Youth Opportunity Hub Grantee

In February 2017, Community Connections for Youth (CCFY) was selected to receive funds under the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (CJII) in response to the Manhattan District Attorney Office’s request for proposals to establish Youth Opportunity Hubs serving East Harlem, Central and West Harlem, Washington Heights, and the Lower East Side. The Youth Opportunity Hubs investment will create vibrant youth centers that provide comprehensive and coordinated services and opportunities, drawing upon young people’s strengths and addressing multiple risk factors and needs to prevent youth from becoming involved in the criminal justice system.

With these funds, Community Connections for Youth is partnering with several Harlem-based grassroots organizations to establish a Youth Opportunity Hub that will provide a host of services including, but not limited to, employment assistance, intensive mentoring, arts and recreation, trauma-specific services, legal advocacy, and health education to residents of Central and West Harlem. The Hub will have a central space at Soul Saving Station, as well as satellite locations at other faith-based partners. CCFY comes to the project with a wealth of expertise in developing the capacity of local grassroots organizations, and the Hub will present the opportunity to continue and build upon this important work.  Partners for the Hub include West Harlem Empowerment Coalition, Bethel Gospel Assembly, Salem United Methodist Church, Perfect Peace Ministries, Academy of Social Action, Harlem Children’s Zone, PS 129, JVL Wildcat, NYC Department of Probation – Harlem NEON, ACS – Horizon, Credible Messenger Justice Center, NYPD Precincts 28/26/32, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Harlem Commonwealth Council, D.A.A.D., Arches, Next Steps, Pioneer Football League, Young Life, CRU-Inner City, Soul Saving Station, Thrive Collective, Full Circle, Media Genesis, Code for Life, and STEM Kids NYC.

Community Connections for Youth is one of five organizations to receive funds to create Youth Opportunity Hubs. These comprehensive, wraparound approaches help to reduce the likelihood of interaction with the justice system by cultivating a young person’s strengths, rather than focusing predominantly on risk and delinquency.

The Youth Opportunity Hubs, along with the other initiatives being developed under CJII, form a comprehensive set of strategic investments that, together, will have a significant, lasting impact on public safety and justice reform in New York City.