• Madina Amber

DYCD Secure the Bag Event

The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) “invests in a network of community-based organizations and programs to alleviate the effects of poverty and to provide opportunities for New Yorkers and communities to flourish”. Programs they are supporting for NYC youth and their families include after school, community development, family support, literacy services, youth services and youth workforce development.

I was glad to attend one of their events, Secure the Bag: Pathways to Economic Equality, which was live-streamed on YouTube accommodated by brilliant speakers. It was an interesting display of data regarding youth employment, and the discussion of the youth agenda addressed for the next Mayor. The speakers address important issues such as the need for more youth voices, redistribution of funding, and improved conflict resolution training for school safety officers.

It was interesting to read the data (below) about how youth, in particular, those from low-income and marginalized communities experience higher unemployment, especially since July of 2020.

This contributes to increases in poverty rates, which limits them from success. The weight of the pandemic has certainly amplified this impact.

The event highlighted recommendations reflected in the Youth Ask Youth (YAY) Census which listed funding/creating summer jobs for all, improving SYEP, helping NYC youth to “develop and own cooperatives businesses that address the young people's needs and give ages 18-24 jobs building affordable, sustainable housing in their neighborhoods”. These points are very important, especially for young people like myself because the pandemic has made it harder to find opportunities, and family needs are often greater. I believe that it is necessary to have discussions like this because many families are struggling and are relying on their kids to help them. Having the youth engaged in roles like this helps with their community building and leadership skills.

The speakers presented spectacular answers and advice when it came to the impact of youth-driven work, especially how having youth in positions of leadership helps them advance in their future, whether it's school, in terms of business, or at their chosen career.

I appreciated getting to know and hear from inspiring youth! I highly recommend everyone attend their upcoming town hall in March and April 17 at https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dycd/digital_toolkit/AboutUS.html

Also check out information on other recordings of topics such as Systemic Racism, Mental Health Awareness, Equity, and Education, Economics, Vote your voice, LGBTQ Speak Out, Environmental Justice, No Access, Black & Brown Collective. It was very helpful to see the opportunities available for our rising youth leaders!

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