POUGHKEEPSIE – A group of twenty-five teens has been working to clean and beautify areas of Poughkeepsie as part of the Summer Youth Employment Gardening Program.
On Tuesday, the group of kids ranging in age between 14 and 18 battled near 100 degree temps to clean up the playground at College Hill Park. On Wednesday, the workers were cleaning up the center garden at the Earline Patrice Park at Mansion Square. The program is a collaboration between Nubian Directions, the City of Poughkeepsie, and the Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board. The goal is to empower youth through hard work while they earn for their future.
Rahman Moore, one of the program leaders said the program also helps address the uptick in violence that has occurred by keeping the youth occupied due to the COVID-19 school closings.
“Some of these kids really need financial help but we want them to work for that help,” said Moore, adding that the program strives to instill “good work ethic and good values.” Through the work of the program leaders, the children are given the necessary tools and lessons that provide insight into future career options available. “We show them that you’ve got to work hard,” and tell them “The quicker you learn these skills, the better your life will be,” while stressing to the kids the importance of education and job skills, “You can have a decent life.”
Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison is a proponent of the youth programming made possible with the support of the city. “This is a great program that has been around for quite some time. In this day and age, it is important for our youth to learn skills, earn a wage, and plan for the future.” Rolison called the program a “win-win” because, in addition to helping the youth develop life skills, the city benefits from their work as they “make Poughkeepsie look beautiful.”