From the Bridgeport Housing Authority
In response to recent youth-oriented crime in Bridgeport, the Housing Authority of the City of Bridgeport (HACB) took a proactive step toward improving relationships between police and young people. The Youth-Police Initiative engages communities in positive social change to reduce violence and gang involvement by creating sustainable positive relationships between teens and authorities. Under the umbrella of the award-winning NETWorx Program, the initiative aims uses community involvement to create better police-resident relations.
“We recognized there was a need, and as a community partner, we believe the program will expose young people to police, and police will become sensitive to issues our youth are dealing with,” HACB Executive Director Nicholas Calace said.
After successes in White Plains and New Haven, the North American Family Institute brought the Program to Trumbull Gardens. Through the Iniative, police and youth complete a leadership curriculum to reduce negative stereotypes by building positive identities and relationships. They strengthen those relationships by completing activities that help them to better their lives and their community.
Yesterday, at a ceremonial dinner at the Trumbull Gardens Multipurpose Center, 13 teenagers were recognized for completing the program. Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Bridgeport Police Department Police Chief Joseph Gaudett, HACB Commission Chairperson Shante Hanks and Executive Director Nicholas Calace, members of the Youth-Police Initiative and officials from the North American Family Institute congratulated the participants.
Police Chief Joseph Gaudett applauded the effort and said he believes his participating officers also benefited from the interactions.
Mayor Bill Finch said, “This is exactly the type of response I was hoping for, a community partner contributing resources and innovative ideas to help us encourage youth engagement with the police department.”