This Giving Tuesday, CASES will be raising money to continue supporting New York City’s youth in the face of recent alarming budget cuts. Because of this loss of critical funding, we’ve had to close the doors of two lifesaving, evidence-based mentoring programs that would have helped hundreds of young people stay out of jail and connect with educational and employment opportunities.
Many of the youth and young adults we serve reside in the city’s most under resourced and overpoliced neighborhoods—and even within these communities, they have been pushed further to the margins. More across-the-board city budget cuts may be looming, and CASES is fighting to keep serving the young New Yorkers who need us most.
One of the many essential youth programs we operate is the Assertive Community Engagement & Success (ACES) program. ACES mentors serve young men who are out of school, out of work, and involved in the criminal legal system. When we meet them, many have lost faith in their futures. Unlike court-mandated programs, ACES participants choose when, where, and how they work with us, and the CASES team commits to them for as long as they need us—often for years.
We start by meeting participants wherever they are, slowly building trust by showing up consistently, providing for basic needs like food, toiletries and MetroCards, and creating a foundation for success. Once young people begin to see that our team will be with them for the long haul, the focus shifts to developing life skills, attaining a GED and other credentials, learning to be a parent, and increasing career readiness. With the help of their mentors, the young men we serve set out on a different path—the road to healthy, independent adulthood.
At CASES, we believe that your opportunities shouldn’t be determined by your zip code. We all lose out when young people are enmeshed in cycles of poverty, incarceration and violence. Programs like ACES give youth the resources they deserve to reach their full potential—to pursue their dreams and contribute to our communities.
Join us by donating on November 28.