Toyota Family Learning: East Side House Safety Walk Brings Together NYPD, Residents

IMG_2566.JPGAbout 50 Mott Haven moms, dads, and children from the Toyota Family Learning program at East Side House (ESH) Settlement walked their Bronx-neighborhood streets with members of the New York Police Department to point out safety concerns such as inadequate lighting and sanitation issues, and areas where suspected drug and gang-related activities occur. Officers from NYPD’s Housing Police Service Area 7 talked with walkers about their concerns and potential solutions.

The Safety Walk idea came out of an ESH-facilitated discussion with families about changes they’d like to see in their community, and is one of three Family Service Learning activities the group will see through fruition before graduating from Toyota Family Learning this summer.

“My family and I love that our neighbors are coming together as a community demonstrating strength as a call to action for a safer, more supportive place for families and children,” said parent participant Yamileth Gomez, who has lived in the area since 2011.

IMG_2964Mott Haven is one of the nation’s poorest Congressional districts; it’s a place where 20 percent of the adult population has less than a ninth-grade education and where crime and drugs overrun the daily lives of many residents.

“The Safety Walk is about stepping out of our comfort zones, and getting involved as entire families to make our community better,” said ESH Executive Director John Sanchez. “The Toyota Family Learning program at East Side House works with area families to help them find and use their voices, and today’s walk is an example of how our families feel more empowered to make a difference in the quality of their community.”

Families Now Blog   National Center for Families Learning
Watch highlights from ESH’s Safety Walk

Following the Safety Walk, participating families hope to see increased police presence in targeted areas, improved sanitation services along sidewalks and in parks, and additional opportunities for residents to work with the other members of the community and schools to share ideas.

 East Side House is a community-based social service organization that recognizes education as the gateway out of poverty for the children and families served in the South Bronx and surrounding communities. They received a three-year, $175k Toyota Family Learning grant from NCFL in 2014.

 Toyota Family Learning, a 6-year nationwide initiative led by NCFL, was created to address educational needs and provide opportunities for low-income and ethnically-diverse families to roll up their sleeves and build stronger communities. NCFL knows that when children and families solve community issues together, they are simultaneously learning and applying 21st century college and career readiness skills.