Last week the Y was thrilled to launch Bigs in Blue — a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City (BBBS of NYC) and the 33rd Precinct — at our SONYC After School Program at Harbor Heights Middle School.
The Bigs in Blue mentoring initiative originally launched in the Bronx in November of 2017. Designed to create and foster positive conversations among police officers and youth, this month the program expanded to two additional sites, including the Y’s SONYC After School Program at Harbor Heights. BBBS of NYC paired NYPD officers in the 33rd Precinct with 25 eighth graders. These four officers are the same ones that our students see everyday on the streets protecting their Washington Heights community.
“Over the last year, we’ve witnessed the remarkable impact that these positive mentoring relationships can have on both the young people we serve and the community at large,” said Jon May, interim executive director of BBBS of NYC. “As part of our commitment to empowering youth and strengthening communities across New York City, we are proud to provide more young people with the opportunity to learn invaluable life lessons from outstanding leaders.”
“As a Jewish center committed to serving the wider community of Washington Heights and Inwood, and thanks to our ongoing relationship with the Harbor Heights families, mostly comprised of new immigrants from the Dominican Republic, we are proud to partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC on its Bigs in Blue initiative,” said Martin Englisher, the Y’s CEO. “We believe this program will significantly impact the local youth and help create a more understanding and cohesive community.” During their monthly sessions, the officers will meet with program participants to discuss the importance of education, and how to develop career goals and plan for the future.
The Y is dedicated to supporting and empowering the youth of Washington Heights and Inwood. We are proud that the Bigs in Blue initiative is one more vehicle to doing just that.