Last  week was a very busy one for YO S.O.S. and our parent organization, the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center. On top of our normally scheduled workshops, the youth organizers had two special events this week.
On Tuesday, four youth organizers took part in a forum hosted at the Center for Court Innovation and facilitated by A+NYC, a organization that  brings people together to “envision an excellent and equitable public school system under the city’s next administration.” The event sought to gain high school students’ perspectives on education issues in the lead-up to the 2013 mayoral campaign.
Just a few of our suggestions for education policy changes in 2013 
With a crowded field of candidates that will produce a new mayor for the first time in 12 years, A+NYC saw a critical role for young New Yorkers in shaping the tone and substance of the education discussion in the campaign. Along with the youth organizers, about 15 members of the Center for Court Innovation’s Youth JusticeBoard shared thoughts about their schools, the current state of education in the city, and what they would like to see mayoral candidates—and the winner, the city’s next mayor—change about and bring to city schools.
The next day, ten youth organizers attended and helped run a very special event at the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, the center’s Appreciation Ceremony in Honor of Sharon “Ife” Charles. Ife Charles worked at CHCMC for 13 years, before leaving this summer when she was promoted to the Center for Court Innovation’s Citywide Coordinator of Anti-violence Programs. The event honored Ife, CHCMC, and all of the center’s community partners. The youth organizers greeted guests, helped make sure the event ran smoothly, and created a wonderful tribute to Ife, a paper tree onto which guests added leaves with personal messages of thanks. To read more about the event from Greg Berman, the Executive Director of the Center for Court Innovation, click here.

At the end of the week, we were able to rest up and reflect on a very exciting, full several days in which youth organizers played important roles, both inside and outside of YO S.O.S. We hope to build on these experiences, deepening our engagement with Crown Heights and the issue of gun violence, and expanding our reach to others in New York City. YOUTH POWER!