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Mayor Sarno, Councilor Click-Bruce, Police Superintendent Clapprood and Local Community Centers Announce Special Collaborative Youth Outreach Initiative - Universal Passes to all Community Centers -

|   City News

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, City Councilor Lavar Click-Bruce, Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood, Deputy Police Chief Steve Kent and Captain Jeff Martucci joined with representatives and officials from local community centers and organizations to announce a special collaborative youth outreach initiative today at the South End Community Center. Local community centers have partnered with the City of Springfield and other organizations to create a universal community center pass for youth to access the numerous and various programs and services offered by these organization.

Wes Jackson, Executive Director of the South End Community Center, Keshawn Dodds, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Family Center, Francena Brown, Executive Director of Families Against Violence, Sarah Gumaer, Director of Marketing for Springfield Boys and Girls Club, Melissa Blissett, Vice President of Family Support Services for Square One, and representatives from North Citizens Council Youth Services Center were also in attendance.  

These universal community center passes will help connect youth with the various programs and services offered, along with provide mentorship opportunities, mental health counseling and potential job opportunities too.  Passes are scheduled to be dropped offed at all public libraries, senior centers, barber shops and beauty salons, churches, and elsewhere.  The Springfield Police Department will also have passes on hand to pass out to youth and families that might be able to take advantage of these programs and services.  Police officers will carry these passes and hand them out in the community when needed, and police Quebec officers will carry them the schools.   

This announcement comes out of Mayor Sarno’s previous community roundtable meetings with stakeholders and partners to address the increase in violence in hot spot areas, especially gun violence, along with efforts to enhance citywide youth outreach efforts.  On Thursday, September 21st, Mayor Sarno and Councilor Click-Bruce, Chair of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, met with representatives from local community centers to finalize the plan of action to initiate this comprehensive youth outreach initiative.  Other partner community centers and organizations include:  Springfield Boys and Girls Club, MLK, Jr. Family Center, Boys and Girls Club Family Center, Downtown Springfield YMCA, South End Community Center, Square One, New North Citizens Council Youth Services Center, North End Youth Center, Solomon Baymon and Roca Inc., Families Against Violence, Brother Johnnie Muhammad and The Mission Inc., and Bishop Talbert Swan and the NAACP. 

Mayor Sarno states, “This unique and innovative idea came to fruition out of my administrations last community roundtable discussion with clergy, city and state officials, and community partners.  I want to thank City Councilor ‘Coach’ Lavar Click-Bruce for his continued and steadfast leadership in our community, especially with our youth.  Special shoutout to Patrice ‘Chae’ Swan for his efforts behind the scenes too.  Working with Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood and the brave and dedicated men and women of our Springfield Police Department, along with all of our local Community Centers and partners including, Wes Jackson and our South End Community Center, Keshawn Dodds and the Boys and Girls Club Family Center, Vinny Borello and the Springfield Boys and Girls Club, Jarix Santiago from the New North Citizens Council Youth Services Center, and Francena Brown from Families Against Violence, just to name a few.  This comprehensive plan of action, which we will announce formally in the very near future, will enhance our community outreach efforts and create a unique and innovative initiative in partnership with our local community centers, Springfield Police Departments, and more, to provide pro-active and preventative efforts and outreach of mentorship opportunities and services and programs for our youth.  Stay tuned.”

Councilor Lavar Click-Bruce stated, “As I stated previously during Mayor Sarno’s community roundtable meetings, we can choose whether to do something or do nothing.  We have decided to do something!  This innovative partnership with all of our community centers, working closely with the Springfield Police Department and other entities will greatly enhance our youth outreach efforts to be pro-active in connecting them with the services and programs that are out there.  It takes a village and together this initiative, which we will announce in the near future, will provide a positive approach to connect our youth and their families with opportunities, programs and services.  More details will be announced in the very near future.”

Keshawn Dodds, Executive Director of Boys and Girls Club Family Center said, “It is great to have this opportunity to expand our collaborations with other youth-serving organizations in the city of Springfield.  With the implementation of the Universal Pass to our Universal Membership for teens, we are able to include more organizations and also able to reach more youth throughout the city.  It is great to be able to work to save our youth and also offer families the support they deserve.”

In addition, Mayor Sarno spoke with Attorney General Andrea Campbell over the weekend to discussion their continued partnership in addressing criminal activity and community outreach efforts, and shared this community collaborative initiative with her.  Attorney General Campbell was impressed and liked the idea.  She wanted to learn more and pending her schedule would like to sit down and meet with Mayor Sarno’s community stakeholders’ group to continue this dialog. 

Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood also indicated that following up on her conversations with Mayor Sarno, and in partnership with District Attorney Anthony Gulluni and Sheriff Nick Cocchi, the Springfield Police Department is planning on hold another gun buy back program sometime in October.  Both Mayor Sarno and Superintendent Clapprood emphasized that taking even one gun off our streets and out of our neighborhoods is a win, so it cannot be stolen and/or used to commit a violent act.

Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm