Today, Mayor Frank G. Jackson announced that his Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults (PIOYYA) will expand its services to offer year-round programming at recreation centers. The City of Cleveland will also enhance its youth summer jobs program and offer citywide internships. The new program offerings are geared at giving youth and young adults the tools they need to be successful.
The changes in programming align with departmental changes at City Hall. The Community Relations Board (CRB), led by Director Grady Stevenson, has been moved under the Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults led by Chief Tracy Martin-Thompson.
“These new services are aimed at empowering youth and young adults to explore new opportunities that will allow them to become more well-rounded and successful,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “Adding the Community Relations Board under the Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults umbrella will allow us to better serve residents by aligning the important work these departments are already doing and better position them to collaboratively expand future services.”
Increased Programming and Resources
Programming in the City’s 22 recreation centers will be expanded to include more culturally relevant, evidence-based or research-based offerings aimed at addressing the following target areas:
• Education: K-12 Education intervention and enrichment programming, post-secondary education preparation programs, young adult/adult education programs
• Job and career readiness: Provide youth and young adults with guidance that will open doors to career paths allowing them to be successful. This will include services such as needs assessments, employment plan, job readiness training, job placement assistance and more for adults ages 18 and up
• Health and wellness: Instruction in activities such as yoga and other exercise classes
• Youth development, mentorship, leadership and community service: Programming aimed at helping young people improve social, emotional and cognitive competencies with leadership training, giving back to the community and mentorship
• The arts: Performing arts such as dance and drama and visual arts such as painting and photography
• Sports, recreation and service: Athletic activities to promote physical and social emotional wellness in youth such as skiing and gymnastics
The city issued a request for proposals for contractors skilled in these areas in October 2018. Currently, the City of Cleveland is reviewing vendor proposals and expects to announce new program offerings and schedules in Spring 2019. Legislation to approve vendor contracts will be introduced to Cleveland City Council in February 2019.
The Community Relations Board (CRB) will now be housed under the Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults.
Key components of CRB’s work directly aligns with PIOYYA’s. The Community Relations Board is responsible, by city ordinance, for improving cross-culture relationships in the City of Cleveland. This reflects a wide diversity of racial, ethnic and religious heritage. The mission of the department is to resolve community conflicts through community outreach with the aid of its community liaisons. CRB also offers resources for formerly incarcerated individuals as well as a youth community diversion and intervention program.
“By strategically coordinating the resources between the Mayor’s Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults and the Community Relations Board, we can provide our youth access to more meaningful opportunities and comprehensive support services that can make a significant difference in their lives,” said Chief Martin-Thompson. “Investing in our youth today will lead to stronger communities and a stronger Cleveland in the future.”
More About the Community Relations Board and Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults
The Mayor’s Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunity for Youth and Young adults was created in 2017. Later that year, the City of Cleveland issued its report, “A New Model for Addressing Youth Violence as a Public Health Issue.” The new programs offered in 2019 align with goals identified in the report. A key component of the report called for moving away from addressing youth violence merely as a safety issue but also as a public health issue.
Since then, the City of Cleveland has placed social work-trained, trauma-informed coaches in the City’s rec centers. In addition, all recreation center staff have received trauma-informed care training to identify and engage youth dealing with toxic stress.
“The City of Cleveland will improve the effectiveness of its investments in youth and young adults through the realignment of these two offices,” said Director Stevenson. “At the heart of this realignment is improved service to our youth and young adults, providing them with the right tools to build bright futures.”