On Wednesday, May 18th, over 150 young people, educators, civic clients, and community partners came together at Brooklyn Borough Hall for the Y-PLAN NYC 2016 Spring Summit to support and listen to the students’ innovative ideas and proposals for creating a healthier, more equitable, sustainable, and joyful New York City. The afternoon commenced with an opening Gallery Walk of Y-PLAN Project Poster Presentations allowing student "Consultants for Change" to share their project visions and policy recommendations to city leaders, peers, educators, and adult allies from the public and private sector, who in turn offered both verbal and written feedback to the students. Y-PLAN Project Poster Presentations are modeled on professional academic conferences, offering a more intimate and personalized setting for students to both present findings and engage in dialog with professionals. Following this, everyone came together in the Courtroom, where keynote addresses by Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna, Superintendents Karen Watts and Michael Prayor, and Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Stephen Levin bookended Student Policy Panel Presentations, where groups of students presented their proposals for change to the audience. Students received feedback and answered questions from a panel including representatives from the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeless Services, the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, and the Department of Education. The afternoon culminated with a resource session for students, including applications for the Brooklyn Community Board, Youth Leadership Councils, and Kingsborough Community College’s Brooklyn Science Innovation Initiative, and information from Free the Children’s WE Schools and the Participatory Budgeting Project.
- Council Member Antonio Reynoso announced they secured $100,000 in Department of Transportation funding to support the implementation of EBC High School For Public Service’s “Brighten Broadway Project,” designing a walking art gallery to enhance the transportation, housing, public space, and safety of their neighborhood.
- The High School for Enterprise, Business, and Technology proposed a system for supporting students living in temporary housing, including improved resources starting with 30 donated laptops they secured for the Flushing Ave Homeless Shelter, changes to school budgeting processes to ensure funding is targeted to students in temporary housing, and enhanced information sharing for awareness and sensitivity.
- Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design (WHSAD), along with their civic client, Council Member Stephen Levin, and Jennifer Godzeno, Deputy Director of the Participatory Budgeting Project, demonstrated the impact schools can have on Participatory Budgeting as WHSAD’s support for the proposal to make Msgr. McGolrick Park Safer helped the project earn enough votes through PB to receive funding.
- Students provided examples for their recommended strategies for raising awareness of services available for victims of domestic violence. Urban Action Academy students proposed a mobile art exhibition for teenagers and brought a painting and a performed spoken word poem designed in class. Meanwhile, George Westinghouse CTE High School students proposed a coordinated effort with local bakeries and soup kitchens to distribute domestic violence support service information along with baked goods and brought student-made cookie packages for all Summit participants.