Gang prevention programming is on the syllabus for one local youth program.
The Friends United Block Association (FUBA) after-school center, now in its eighth year, has received $25,000 in New York State anti-drug funding for its anti-gang initiative allocated through Assemblymember Helene Weinstein, a long-time supporter of the free program.
The money, said Gardy Brazela, FUBA’s president, will be used in a variety of ways to interface with the organization’s anti-gang efforts, which include lectures on gang prevention, “signs parents have to look for, colors they wear and stuff like that.”
In addition, Brazela said, “We do intervention and behavior modification,” working with the 155 students, age eight through 18, from elementary through high school, who attend the after-school program daily.
Besides the intervention efforts, the program features academic tutoring, Monday through Friday, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Public School 114, 1077 Remsen Avenue, as well as computer classes. Approximately 135 students attend the program at P.S. 114, while the remainder attend at the program’s headquarters, 1045 Remsen Avenue.
That location will be enhanced in the near future, Brazela said, as the organization is in the process of buying new computers, the money for which was allocated through Assemblymember Helene Weinstein and Assemblymember Alan Maisel, both of whom provided $25,000 grants.
“You have to try to keep kids involved, doing activities, keep them from getting into trouble,” noted Weinstein, who has been providing funding for the FUBA after school program since its inception, eight years ago.
The program, “Has a great track record,” she added. “In a community that doesn’t have a lot of other services, it’s something that’s clearly needed. Gardy is doing a great job.”
Besides kids, the computer lab will also be open to adults who will be able to take free computer classes there, said Brazela, on Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon. Additional kid-oriented computer classes are also being held, Monday and Wednesday, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“We have a lot of people in the community who don’t have access to computers,” Brazela explained. “This is going to help them. Once they finish, they will get certificates, so they will be able to use it on their resumes.”
There’s more coming up, he added. Next fall, Brazela said, the organization is hoping to offer piano and voice lessons to participants in the after-school program.
For further information on the after-school program or the adult or child computer classes, call 718-649-6538.