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#Save Our Summer! Youth & Families Matter
For the past 38 years, El Puente has been dedicated to serving our youth and families of North Brooklyn. We have been present in our community, not only in moments that call for celebration, but also in moments of distress and need. As the impact of COVID-19 has deepened, funding cuts have added a devastating blow to our community and in particular, our young people. In early April, we learned that the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) would be canceled. SYEP provides 75,000 youth, primarily of color, critical work experience as well as necessary income for their families. Shortly after, we were informed by our funders, DYCD, that the Mayor made the decision to cancel all city-funded programs. It is clear that these decisions will have severe consequences for our most vulnerable young people and families who have and will continue to suffer profound physical, economic, mental, and emotional hardships as well as long term trauma. Our young people and families are not expendable! They deserve the resources, services, and programs needed to survive through and thrive beyond this pandemic! NOW is not the time to disinvest in the communities that need it the most. We know that our families are deeply stressed by job loss, financial insecurity, and child-care, particularly for the summer. These issues are intrinsically connected. Many of our parents are ‘essential workers’ for whom child care is a primary challenge and a cause of extreme stress and anxiety for older youth who are taking care of their younger siblings. For other parents, they will face the same dilemma if and when they report back to work. Our summer programming will promote physical, mental, and social-emotional well-being and health. It will keep our youth engaged and connected. More importantly, it will be a critical lifeline for our young people who are suffering from profound trauma on their long journey of healing. According to recent data released by the NYC Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, Hispanic/Latinx and Black/African American communities—the very same communities we serve—have been impacted the hardest. We are counting on you to stand up with and for our community and most especially now, for our young people who have and will, with our support, continue to contribute profoundly to restoring and rebuilding this great city! Follow us for more information @elpuentepresente on Facebook and Instagram.