Mayor Woodfin details plan for Department of Youth Services to better the community
In an exclusive one on one interview, the Mayor lays out the plans and programs designed to educate kids and curb teen violence
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The city is changing the Division of Youth Services into a department, and funneling $3.1 million to their community improvement efforts.
“We have to put more resources, commitment, time and a sense of urgency into supporting our youth,” said Mayor Randall Woodfin.
The hope is that these funds and the programs they create improve the lives of the youth in Birmingham. Not only preparing them for success but helping kids avoid pitfalls like gun violence.
“We have to put more resources, commitment, time and a sense of urgency into supporting our youth,” said Woodfin.
The new department will offer several programs and classes in the months ahead, but conflict resolution training will be one of its largest focuses.
“One of the best ways I know how to put the guns down is to make full investments in to conflict resolution for the next generation.”
The Mayor wants DYS to also help students who have already made a mistake or two with the Juvenile reentry program.
“The beauty is the city of Birmingham didn’t create the program. The program is in partnership with both the state and the county. We are supporting it with funding for a program that we know will show success. So when those students get out of state custody, and matriculate back in to their every day environment, which includes their schools, they will be ready to learn.”
The city is partnering with Birmingham City Schools to begin financial literacy classes before the end of this semester. They are also bringing back the FOX 6 Jobs Program, designed to help kids get a glimpse in to the workforce.
“We think that is very important to expose our young people to opportunities while they are in high school. The ability to leave early, receive a high school credit while working, make a livable wage and be into something they have a dream and passion about.”
Now that these programs are getting additional funding, the city must raise awareness of their existence and benefits.
“So that is on us. I think we shouldn’t leave it up to social media. We shouldn’t leave it up to emails. I think we have to go to where our parents are. Where our parents live. I think we have to stand on their porch, stand on their front yard and for those who invite us in their home to listen to them. But we have to share these are the services we offer, and please take advantage of them.”
So what should you take away from our sit-down with the Mayor? One, several programs are receiving key funding to better the lives of the youth here in Birmingham. Two, the city isn’t tackling the challenge alone. Public and Private partners will be key and lastly, many of them will be up and running in the next four months.
Once program start dates are approved by the city council we will update on air and online. The annual Fox 6 Kids and Jobs took place this summer and the Third Grade literacy program “Page Pals” will begin later this month.
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