Thursday, March 3, 2016

Exploring One Father’s Journey as a Bronx Community Solutions Fellow

A year ago, UPNEXT partnered with affiliate Center for Court Innovation project Bronx Community Solutions (BCS) to expand the fellowship program beyond the Midtown Community Court. At the conclusion of each UPNEXT program cycle, one participant is selected to join the BCS team, assisting BCS’ Community Service Supervisors as they work with individuals completing mandates and keep the facility clean.

One fellow, Parnell, has described his experience at BCS as “enriching.” He works with two division of community service mandates: the youth division and the adult division. In particular, he enjoys working with the younger population since his background in at-risk youth advocacy gives him a distinct advantage in managing them. Managing the adult crews posed more of a challenge initially, but Parnell reports that he has learned ways to supervise these crews through his fellowship experience.

At BCS, Parnell and the mandates go outside the site and lend their hands in many beautification activities. They have painted over vandalized properties, provided custodial services to recreational centers, and maintained cleanliness in the corners neighboring BCS.

Parnell finds the fellowship to be fulfilling in many ways. He is able to give back to the community, and by providing beautification of the area; he is able to see a change in the community service mandates as they atone for their wrongdoings. He learned about different cultures and perspectives through conversations with the mandates he supervises. The BCS fellowship is an invaluable opportunity for UPNEXT’s participant. Many alumni, like Parnell, complete the fellowship with a unique sense of accomplishment and satisfaction and find themselves on a path to long-term career and family success. The UPNEXT team is grateful to BCS for this essential partnership and hopes to continue the collaboration for years to come!