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Parks & Public Spaces

Community Board Five Appeal to NYC Parks Department to Prioritize Youth Recreation Programs this summer

Community Board Five Executive Committee unanimously passed the following resolution with a

vote of 9 in favor; 0 opposed; 0 abstaining:


WHEREAS, The COVID-19 pandemic has hit New York City with its biggest public health crisis in recent history; and 


WHEREAS, In its wake, kids have been both out of school and isolated for months, contributing to an ever widening achievement gap; and 


WHEREAS, Summer youth programs not only keep kids engaged, but provide vital supports to children and their families, like combatting learning loss, building resilience and social and emotional health, and helping families access food and economic assistance; and


WHEREAS, While we applaud the reinstatement of some summer youth programs in the recently revised FY21 New York City budget, like the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), and the Work, Learn, Grow; Compass; Beacons; Cornerstones; and School’s Out NYC summer programs, Community Board Five notes that only 60 percent of funding and capacity were restored, leaving an estimated count of over 100,000 kids underserved; and


WHEREAS, While more than 300 community based summer day camp programs were recently greenlit for immediate operation, in order to maintain appropriate post COVID-19 safety protocols most will run at half capacity and serve an anticipated 50 percent fewer kids this season; and


WHEREAS, Any further delay or cancellation of NYC Parks Department youth programs this summer will disproportionately impact already marginalized kids who lack access to computers, internet, camps and enrichment; and will further penalize working parents who must scramble for costly childcare; and


WHEREAS, An entire generation of children is already at risk of being left behind due to longstanding systemic inequities in education, health and community services, that have been further exacerbated by the pandemic; and


WHEREAS, In light of these aforementioned deficits, we implore the NYC Parks Department to help fill this program gap and work even more feverishly to ensure that this summer remains equitable, safe, and enriching for as many children as possible; and


WHEREAS, It is proven that investment in summer youth programs like organized activities and workforce opportunities can prevent and eliminate community violence, and improve overall wellbeing; therefore, be it


RESOLVED, Community Board Five insists that the NYC Parks Department provide robust post COVID-19 opportunities and safe spaces for kids to learn, grow, heal and belong this summer; and be it further


RESOLVED, Community Board Five urgently requests removal of the current moratorium on park space and ball field permits, and that additional community based organizations and youth service providers be eligible to operate, if qualified per the Department of Health, this July and August 2020; and be it further


RESOLVED, Community Board Five ardently urges the NYC Parks Department to consider and remove all structural barriers to equitable participation in summer youth programs, including awareness, accessibility, sustenance and mandatory equipment.

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