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Look For CB17 to Reach Out to More Folks In ‘06

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Efforts to reach out to different segments of the community are among Community Board 17’s plans for 2006. Michael Russell, CB 17’s chairperson, told members gathered at St. Therese de Lisieux Church, 4410 Avenue D, for the board’s December meeting, that the board would be reaching out to both members of clergy and presidents of local block associations in an effort to improve the quality-of-life in East Flatbush. Specifically, with respect to clergy members within CB 17 and its outskirts, Russell said, “There has been a spike in gang-related activity through the community. A police officer recently got killed. These are issues we’d like to work with the clergy about, to see what they can bring to the table in terms of reaching out to young people and also the grown people in the community, to see if we can address these issues in a more comprehensive way.” To that end, Russell said the board was planning a clergy forum for this month. With respect to block association presidents, Russell said he hoped to focus on reaching out to them in February. They represent a growing group, noted Sherif Fraser, the board’s district manager, who pointed out, “More and more new block associations are being set up in various parts of the community, and that shows progress.” “For two months, we’re going to have two separate projects which, I think, we’re trying to garner all to come in, exchange ideas, make suggestions, as they work with CB 17 and see how we can tackle some of these problems,” Russell stressed. The board’s Education Committee has already made contact with clergy members throughout the community, said Orlinda McInnis, the committee chairperson, with the goal of enlisting them to reach out to young people in the community. Clergy members, McInnis reported, “Are working on a number of projects that are in their incipient stages right now. Some of us have been going to churches and talking to the members, so they will give the kind of support we are looking for.” Clergy members, she said, “Plan to adopt schools. They plan to provide counseling to our young people. They plan to speak to principals to find out what the problems are that they are having, in different areas, and begin to deal with those issues.” Also on tap, said McInnis, are principals and teachers at local schools, “Who can give their expertise and tell us the things we need to work with. “We are beyond talking in terms of getting results,” she stressed. “Our aim is to be results-oriented. There’s too much talking. While we’re talking, we’re losing our kids. We can’t change the world,” McInnis concluded. “but we can try.” In another area, the board’s Youth Committee already is mounting plans to expand its annual offerings. Besides the summertime Youth Happen’n, the committee is hoping to develop a springtime event targeted at pre-teens and young teens, ages 11 to 15, said Patricia Reddock, the committee chairperson. While nothing has been decided upon yet, she said, committee members were mulling over a list of ideas. Nor is that all. In another area, Russell said that the board would be compiling a list of restaurants within the board area, with the goal of setting a date over the summer, “When people can go out and have a taste of a meal from different restaurants for about one dollar or so.” Overall, said Russell, he was hopeful that, in 2006, “We will work together in a more cohesive manner, where everyone will be able to express themselves, exchange ideas. We have very active committees and so far we have worked beyond what was expected of them.”

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