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How do you reach out to adolescents and young teens? The Youth Services Committee of Community Board 17 is hoping that a “rap session” will fit the bill. Patricia Reddock, the committee’s chairperson, told board members assembled at Meyer Levin Intermediate School, I.S. 285, 5909 Beverley Road, for the board’s January meeting, that the committee had developed the idea, which she described as a sort of “open mike discussion” after extensive debate. The board, she pointed out, holds its annual Youth Happen’n each August for younger children. But, she said, it has not organized a regular event to draw in somewhat older kids. “We need something in place that can be consistent, from year to year,” she stressed in a subsequent interview. The open mike discussion, said Reddock, would be targeted at kids age 11 through 16, and will he held sometime this spring, with the date and place still to be determined. A letter inviting participation in the event will be sent to area youth through the schools they attend, said Reddock. The purpose of the event, said Reddock, is to give the kids a forum, “To discuss issues among themselves. The kids of that age are kind of lost. They may not be able to speak to their parents for one reason or another, because they scared or because they just can’t. “If they’re not able to speak to people, some kids get in with the wrong people, such as gangs,” Reddock stressed. “One of our biggest problems in the community is kids getting involved with gangs. They are at the stage where they are trying to find themselves, and they need a little assistance from adults. If we can help five out of 50, it’s a start.” There will be adults, at the event, to “assist” the youngsters, said Reddock, who said it hasn’t yet been decided “what segment of the adult community” would be tapped. While their attendance is not required, parents will be welcome to sit in at the session, said Reddock. Besides the rap session, which Reddock said would be held during the day on Saturday to make it as accessible as possible for the kids, Reddock said that the board’s Youth Services Committee was, “Also thinking of starting an advisory council with the kids, which, she said, “Might go above 16.” That group, said Reddock, would have, “Its own president, its own secretaries. They would actually run the council themselves with adult supervision.” There is no timetable yet for the establishment of such a group.

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