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.

BOB Task Force Celebrates Holiday Through Giving

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On Thursday, December 13, 2012, the BOB Task Force met to spread holiday joy by presenting a holiday gift basket and donating canned goods to a local charity.  Members of the group contributed to the creation of a holiday meal basket as a gift for Mrs. Kathlean S., a local resident experiencing financial hardship during this holiday season.  Kathlean’s holiday plans were drastically changed when her husband was diagnosed with cancer.  His recent chemotherapy sessions have left him unable to create the holiday environment their family treasures.  The Task Force stepped in to provide the fixings and trimmings for a holiday meal and more.  Kathlean expressed her gratitude for the gift basket and the work performed by the Task Force.

“It’s great that you are working to make our neighborhoods safer.  Crime prevention really begins in the home, but sometimes families need help to stay straight”, said Kathlean.  “It’s nice to know that some body cares enough to help.”

Following the presentation, canned goods collected by the Task Force were donated to the Dream Center of Saint Petersburg for distribution to needy families.  Mr. King Best, a Dream Center program manager, welcomed the donation and expressed an interest in further participating in activities produced by the Task Force.  “You show that you like to get things done.  This food will go a long way towards helping the community.  People just don’t realize how many hungry people we have in Saint Petersburg,” said Best.  Indeed, the more than 200 items offered included meats, stews and entrees that are the center piece for a meal.

Randy Lewis, Chair of the Task Force, said ” Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t like to just talk about helping.  I need to see that something is being done.  If you know that LOVE is an action verb, then you can’t spend your time just talking about how much you love your community.”  The Task Force demonstrated their love on this day and on many others. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Task Force and its activities, please call the League at 727.327.2081 x 119 or send an e-mail to madekunle@pcul.org.  For more information about the Pinellas County Urban League, visit www.pcul.org

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. 

Thanks SPC Midtown SGA

On Monday, November 7, 2011 BOB Staff presented before the Student Government Association of the St. Petersburg College Midtown Center.  The invitation came as a result of an introduction during the recent LAWFEST 2011 event held at the Center.  SGA member Jacquan Livingston began a conversation with staff and made the invitation.  Said Livingston, “We are all about making life better for the students here at SPC.  If you offer services that can make a difference, we need to know.”  The presentation provided the student-leaders with an overview of the League’s programs, history and purpose.  Staff demonstrated the relevance of the affiliate network and local programing during this current economic crisis.

Interested in learning more?  Staff will present to your group upon request.  Contact Michael Adekunle at (727) 328-1968 or madekunle@pcul.org.

 

27th Annual Crime Run & Family Festival

Many thanks for supporting our event.  We had lots of volunteers and many man-hours of work invested into bringing you a day of enjoyment.  To ensure our next event is bigger and better, we need your honest feedback.  Please share your thoughts on where we excelled and where we can improve.  If public feedback unnerves you, please feel free to call me at 727.328.1968 or send e-mail to madekunle@pcul.org.

 Yours  in service,

 Michael