Our post today comes from the Center’s Youth Justice Board.
A few weeks ago, members of the Youth Justice Board, an after school program that provides young people from New York City with the opportunity to engage meaningfully in policy discussions that affect them and their peers, completed a community asset mapping exercise in their neighborhoods. This year, the Board is working to reduce youth crime in the neighborhood of Brownsville, Brooklyn. As one initial step, members conducted an asset mapping exercise with the goal of identifying resources that the neighborhood already possesses and thinking about how those resources can be utilized to reduce youth crime and make Brownsville a safer, more supportive place for young people to grow up.
Each member was then asked to put together a presentation for the rest of the group that highlighted the assets that his or her own neighborhood provides to its residents. These could include police departments, fire stations, hospitals, schools, public transportation, and extracurricular options, among others. The presentations took a variety of formats. Carlos took an unusual tact, asking his audience to close their eyes as he described the sites of his neighborhood. We’ve included his presentation below.
The community asset mapping exercise that was the catalyst for this presentation is a powerful way to get young people to think about the positive features of their neighborhoods and to consider how these features can serve as resources that can be used to combat a whole of challenges that the community might face, without having to create new programming or build new institutions. If you’re interested in this exercise and want more information about how it is facilitated, please contact the Youth Justice Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.