Celebrating MLK Day with R’Club

children speak

Preventing Crime is about more than locks and security planning. It is about community. That is why our Crime Prevention Program participated in a MLK Day of Service project by reading to toddlers at a local R’Club Daycare Center. Each year, the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Pinellas Opportunity Council, Inc. (RSVP) celebrates the “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service” by conducting a special “Reading Project” in all of the Head Start/Early Head Start Program Centers throughout Pinellas County. Through this project, RSVP and community volunteers read the book “Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King” to three and four year olds, particularly stressing and discussing Dr. King’s timeless themes of non-violence, equality, and peaceful co-existence – values that are important to learn at an early age.

The best part is, following the reading and brief discussion, each child receives a personalized children’s book of their very own – generously donated by numerous local companies, organizations, and friends – in order that they might continue the adventure of reading and learning at home.

Promoting basic literacy is one of the ways crime is reduced in our communities. To find out more about our programs and opportunities for service, call the Pinellas County Urban League at (727) 327-2081.

Social Impact Bonds

So, you have never heard of a social impact bond?  You are not alone.  This is a fairly new idea being tested in the United States, but it is based on a familiar concept.  The idea is that we invest money in the things we believe will bring us a return on that investment.  If we believe that keeping previously incarcerated youth from returning to jail is important, why not reward investors for supporting programs that successfully accomplish the goal of reducing the recidivism rate?  After all, a win-win in this area is a benefit for the youth, the country, and now, the investor.

Cash poor governmentsare facing the reality that our penal system is expensive and yields fewer positive results than most desire.  Of course there are many reasons for the results, some of which are outside the control of the penal system.  Still, a solution must be found to reduce the expenses that crime and punishment create.  Imagine, pay for performance in the social services industry.  Solve a problem, reap a benefit.

Will this structure work closer to home?  Are we in Florida, particularly Pinellas County, ready for this new model?  Share your thoughts.  Consider joining our Task Force here at The Pinellas County Urban League, and make your voice heard.  Call Michael Adekunle at (727) 327-2081 extensiion 119 for more details.

BOBCPP Attends Mavericks High Community Vendor Fair

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On Thursday March 8, 2012 staff participated as a vendor in the Maverick High School Community Resource Fair from 9:30 AM until 2:30 PM.  Filling in for the Pinellas County Urban League’s Career Connection Center, staff had a great time interacting with students, faculty and administrators at this unique educational facility.  With the resource fair serving as a platform for disseminating general organizational information and offering specifics about programs interesting to youth , this opportunity was a good match for the BOBCPP. Staff is grateful for the assistance of Ms. Paysha Royal, a student at Mavericks High School, for her work gathering student signatures, stuffing bags and offering various handouts provided to her classmates. 

 

Mavericks High Schools were established to provide an educational choice to students who have dropped out of school or may be in danger of dropping out. Using 21st Century technology and a focus on individualized attention, Mavericks High Schools offer students, who are challenged by the traditional approach to learning, the opportunity to earn a state-recognized high school diploma. This high-tech high provides students, ages 15-21, a strong research-based curriculum and support for pursuing continuing education or a suitable vocation.   Mavericks High places a high degree of importance upon core curriculum toward the achievement of competency in the fundamental subjects that are necessary for gainful employment and/or continuing education. High school graduation is the acknowledgment and the reward for meeting the benchmarks established that define a level of competency in all required high school subject areas. A high school diploma confirms an important and recognized milestone of academic achievement.

 

Students who have elected to attend Mavericks High Schools, like so many students in urban areas, face many challenges.  Administrators provided the fair to expose the students to a wide variety of resource options that exist to help them in achieving their goals.  Also represented at the event were the Pinellas County Public Health Office, Sickle Cell Anemia Society, Operation PAR, Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections, ASAP, and more.  More than most, these students recognize that they control their destiny, and they work hard to ensure personal success.  Consequently, there was a lot of foot traffic to the table.

 

Staff became engaged in the stories of individual students by discussing their goals, listening to their challenges and offering suggestions for surmounting a variety of problems presented.

 

Students demonstrated interest in winning a raffle of a $25.00 Visa gift card.  Sixty-three people became eligible for the drawing.  Ms. Joyce Jones was the selected winner of the raffle, and has picked up her winnings at the League’s headquarters building, located at 333 -31st Street North in Saint Petersburg, Florida.

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Founded in 1977, the Pinellas County Urban League is the premier social service and civil rights organization in Pinellas County.  We are one of the National Urban League’s network of non-profit, community-based affiliates located throughout the united states.  The Urban League is a member agency of United Way since 1981.  The League operates social service programs throughout Pinellas County and serves those in need of career development, education, employment services, tutoring, energy assistance, crime prevention services, health screening and education services and housing weatherization.  More information about the Urban League can be obtained from our website, www.pcul.org or by calling (727) 327-2081.

 

Crime Prevention Program Vocal through St. Petersburg CONA

 

The Pinellas County Urban League, through the Black-on-Black Crime Prevention Program, participated in the 2012 Council of Neighborhood Associations’ (CONA) annual goal setting and planning session on February 4, 2012.  The activity, held at the SunCoast Hospice Center, 3050 1st Avenue South in Saint Petersburg, offers residents the opportunity to influence city priorities by working together and sharing the collective voice of all neighborhood associations.  Mayor Bill Foster set the tone for the meeting by thanking residents for their commitment to the city.  “We want people to love the city,” said Foster.  During his remarks, he stressed the need for more dialog, new ideas and a renewed energy to overcome many of the challenges created by the economic downturn that rippled through the global economy.

Represented by staff and BOBCPP Task Force member, Gershom Faulkner, the program and its constituents spoke in favor of increasing collaboration between CONA and youth groups as a way to strengthen community ties, further reduce crime rates and beautify communities through multiple small-scale projects.  Advocates for increasing neighborhood participation within the Council structure, session participants agreed that CONA must make a greater effort to reach the community with its message and then follow up with training, coaching and resource sharing for communities that need help organizing and managing an association.  Presently, only 32 of the city’s 74 neighborhoods are active within CONA.  The group identified the need to understand why communities fail to participate as a top priority.

Information about CONA is available from its website.  For more information on how the Black-on-Black Crime Prevention Program may assist you, please call (727) 328-1968. 

Consumer Protection… where do YOU go?

We strive to look out for all of our neighbors.  So, BOBCPP supports Commissioner Putnam’s efforts to protect consumers from poor business practices.  Have you ever had a complaint about a business, service or product?  In addition to the frustration caused by the incident, sometimes it may seem irritating to seek, but not find, a place to report the problem.

Commissioner Putnam has made reporting our poor experiences easier by creating an online resource guide.  Through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Division of Consumer Services has posted an A-Z Resource Guide.  Using a subject based index, you can have the answer to your questions in seconds.  Give it a try today.  Remember, an informed consumer is an empowered consumer!

Best wishes!

CHILDS PARK NEIGHBORHOOD REUNION: Put Neighbor back in the Hood

 

Program staff participated in a local community activity celebrating the past, present and future of the Childs Park community in Saint Petersburg, Florida.

On Saturday, December 10, 2011, the Childs Park Recreation Center and grounds became the site of the inaugural Childs Park Neighborhood Reunion.  A community celebration of the people and history of the Childs Park neighborhood, the event envisioned as a way to “Put Neighbor back in the Hood” and get residents to mingle, reminisce and reflect on what made Childs Park a special place for previous generations.  The vision and goal of the Childs Park Neighborhood Grassroots Leadership Development Team, a group of community residents and those who support them, is to recreate the feeling of neighborly care and community concern that existed when many of them were younger and growing up.  Featuring entertainment, free food, prizes personal and family empowerment information and more, this kickoff event attracted approximately 300 residents, friends and others who recognize the need for communities to work together to achieve a greater good for all.

Brother John Muhammad, President of the Childs Park Neighborhood Association, spoke about his motivation behind the event: “This is about making our neighborhood a better place.  It’s about giving our children a better start for their future than we had.  Sharing with them and teaching them from the mistakes we made will make it easier for them to succeed faster.  This event will help people to know each other, build a report and create an environment of peace, harmony and a desire for growth and positive change.”

The event, a graduation project of the Childs Park Neighborhood Grassroots Leadership Development Program, represents the vision and spirit of class members and supporters of the month-long training pilot launched in partnership by Saint Petersburg Neighborhood Partnership and the University of South Florida Jim Walter Partnership Center.  Through the training program, residents enhanced their soft skills while working as a team to implement more technical, project management skills and demonstrate their knowledge of city services in place to coordinate and support improvement projects and facilitate residents’ active participation in making neighborhood improvements.  Mayor Bill Foster, Council members Newton and Nurse and many representatives of the city administration team, supported the training and graduation ceremonies.

The Childs Park Neighborhood Reunion was a commitment by training participants to design and deliver a project to make a difference within two months of graduation.  “Training, and community needs, stressed a sense of urgency to capitalize on the momentum developing here in Childs Park.  As a group, we felt compelled to follow through and demonstrate that action brings rewards.  We just kept knocking on doors and making phone calls to get the help we needed to make today happen,” class member Michael Adekunle said.  As an employee of the Pinellas County Urban League, he works with residents and organizations to motivate the community to support, promote and participate in personal and neighborhood empowerment activities.   

The day’s activities included a rededication and grand reopening of the Childs Park Recreation Center, a community league basketball tournament, games, entertainment,  an obstacle course and lots of free food.  Young and old alike enjoyed a more friendly, rather than competitive, game of volley ball.  However, competition was fierce during the flag football tournament.  Children enjoyed face painting, candy apples and bounce houses.  Spoken word presentations, edifying original rap songs from SWAG, martial arts displays and a puppet show preceded a community talent showcase from the main stage.  Six $25.00 gift cards to Wal-Mart were raffled off throughout the event. 

Childs Park Reunion Festival, Police & Community Perspective Radio

Staff participated in the weekly radio show, Police & Community Perspective as a guest of Assistant Chief Cedric Gordon and in support of the Childs Park Reunion: Putting Neighbor back in the Hood.  Since 1997, the show has been providing information to St. Petersburg and surrounding areas via its call-in talk show format.  Co-host Officer Johnny Harris, a former member of the Crime Prevention Task Force, remains an influential part of the PCUL Crime Prevention family, though he has passed his official PCUL duties to Officer Mark Williams.  Both can be seen in this video describing the show.

Please join us on Tuesday mornings at 10:00 am as we tune in to Police & Community Perspectives on WRXB.