|This Best Practice is one of
Best Practices for Human Settlements
presented in the MOST Clearing House
Best Practices Database.
A solution to a lack of usable urban recreational space, a major quality of life issue for urban youth and their neighborhoods, lies in youth and community residents themselves, who together, can provide a low-cost, effective strategy for reclaiming public spaces overwhelmed by problems like drugs. Take Back The Park supports this solution by providing a unique mix of youth leadership and crime prevention training that mobilize city youth to create activities that address tough issues facing neighborhoods. Take Back The Park is a summer-long, youth-run project that helps neighborhoods organize programming in local parks to drive out drug dealers, reclaim crime-ridden parks for the community, and build leadership skills among local youth.
Take Back The Park began in 1987 when 25 young people, fed up with the negative drug activity, crime, and violence that plagued their community stormed into 3 parks to provide positive recreational, cultural, and educational activities for young people and adults during the summer months.
Take Back The Park represents a creative departure from previous youth programming in
that it is the first and only project of its kind in New York City that gives young people
--all high-risk youth-- a lead role in motivating peers and adults alike in reclaiming
community recreational space from drug dealers.
Participating youth are provided with 25 hours of youth leadership and community organizing skills training, including topics such as program planning, outreach, community problem-solving and strategies for addressing drug trafficking and substance abuse. All 15 of each Take Back the Park efforts remain in action today.
The project's sustainability is evident in its replicability. Take Back The Park is continually transferred and replicated in participating neighborhoods as communities, inspired by the project's training and technical assistance, continue to collaborate and plan programs addressing other community issues. Approximately 3 new Take Back The Park projects are initiated each year -- these neighborhood projects receive small but vital cash grants from the Citizens Committee to help support their summer activities.
Take Back The Park
Citizens Committee for New York City, Inc.
Local/Community Development Corporation
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