The NYPD and the NYC Police Foundation, a non-profit that aims to bring the community and cops together, held their summer youth job program on Wednesday that proved to be the biggest in the department’s history.
The NYPD capped off what it cited as its most successful summer youth program ever on Aug. 9 at the Police Academy in College Point—located at 130-30 28th Ave.in Queens—inviting a record-setting number of youth participants to a career day.
About a 1,000 young people were selected by community groups from high-crime areas of the city and partnered with the NYPD for summer internships, including those who are wheelchair bound, hard of hearing, and have vision loss. Both the NYPD and the local groups who picked the youth say they are hopeful that the cops and kids will be able to learn from one another and, in turn, help lower crime rates in the future.
With the summer coming to an end, the NYPD celebrated the success of the program by hosting more than 60 companies and businesses to engage the youngsters as their future career paths.
“Nothing is more important than investing in young people,” Executive Director of the Police Foundation Gregg Roberts said, explaining that the nonprofit helped bring the corporations to the fair. “We have tremendous partners that range from Montefiore Hospital to Bank of America that not only work at Career Day but work with us year round to really give young people opportunities.”
Roberts told amNewYork Metro that he believes, with the help of the employers, the youth will build connections and have long-term pathways to create opportunities.
It wasn’t all business, however. Those in attendance were also treated to up close and personal experiences with some specialized NYPD personnel that included meeting the horses from the mounted unit, interacting with a bomb detection robot, and even climbing aboard a grounded NYPD helicopter.
“A lot of these young people come from low-income communities. Most of the kids in this program are from single parent households, high crime commands, so with the young people walking around talking to them it helps them see the police very differently,” NYPD Executive Director of Community Engagement Alden Foster said. “The perception of that is going to be different because they already engaged with them and got to talk to those units.”
Foster also underscored his pride for including those who have been, in the past, left behind. Whether they are living with a vision or a hearing impairment, or even wheelchair bound, Foster said the program gave these the attendees a unique experience that they would not be able to get elsewhere, adding that he is looking to include more youth under that umbrella next year.
“We want to go into more disabilities, learning disabilities. We talk about kids who have an IEP in school and might need help. A lot of young people just need the opportunity,” Foster said.