If the mayor has his way, the Department of Youth and Community Development will lose $20 million from its budget next year, which would take about 30 percent of its money away. According to Michelle Yanche, director of the Neighborhood Family Services Coalition, about 90 percent of 1,300 existing programs will be eliminated under the new budget, everything from music and dance classes to after-school homework help and evening teen peer support groups.
So on May 11, the city’s kids are planning to make an issue out of it. United Neighborhood Houses is organizing A Day for Youth Programs, which they expect will bring more than 1,300 students to the streets outside the churches, synagogues, public housing projects and community centers that host youth programs. The kids’ demand: that the City Council restore the money that’s been cut from the budget.
“It is so outrageous because there are so few programs out there,” said Julissa Gonzalez, a Bushwick high school junior. “How can [the mayor] cut out what we do have already? Instead he should build on that.”