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Celebration of Youth Development Partnerships

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Celebration of Youth Development Partnerships

Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The Tompkins County Youth Services Department recognized the municipal and community leaders who have organized local youth development programs over the last 20 years at a celebration held on Wednesday, September 29, 2010. The theme was "celebrating partnerships that offer diverse and cost-effective programs that strengthen and support youth and their communities." Dr. Brenda Myers, Groton School District Superintendent gave an inspiring key note address focused on the importance of Unlocking the Promise of youth by working together. County legislators joined in presenting certificates of recognition to the communities they represent and Denise Dyer, from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services presented an award to Tompkins County for the creation and success of its innovative system of engaging municipal partners and local volunteers in planning groups that serve over 2,000 youth each year. Ms. Dyer, who works with many counties throughout the State over her career said she has "long considered Tompkins County a model in New York State in providing youth services and in creating collaborations and partnerships like those being celebrated today."

Dr. Myers stressed that "these youth development programs connect with the young people we in the schools are concerned about but don't have the time or resources to reach. We think of our local program managers and Learning Web staff as part of our team. They offer hands-on ways of learning that enable our students to experience success and appreciate the important links between academic success and attainment of their life goals" And she urged all those present to appreciate the partnerships in this community that don't exist elsewhere and she asked everyone to consider what more they could do to help nurture the promise in all children, especially those whose parents who need help meeting their children's challenging needs. Ithaca Town Supervisor Herb Engman highlighted the importance of this intermunicipal partnership, appreciated the recognition received at the celebration, and expressed interest in working collaboratively with the County and other municipalities to assure the continuation of this successful partnership.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County's Rural Youth Services Coordinator Linda Schoffel said, "These cost-effective programs offer local opportunities for young people to learn social, group, teamwork and problem-solving skills; to widen their horizons and expand their work and career experiences; to learn about and serve their communities, to have empathy for others, and a greater appreciation for those different from themselves--'all while having fun in engaging and safe afterschool programs. The connections with positive adults and peers also help to divert youth from the more expensive juvenile justice and child welfare system."

Tompkins County Youth Services Director Nancy Zahler said, "We had been planning this event to celebrate 20 years of successful local youth development programs for youth for many months prior to learning of the budget proposal to eliminate County matching funds in 2011. This celebration is our way of recognizing and thanking the many different partners within each of our communities who come together to serve over 2,200 of the children and youth least likely to participate in other programs and we were delighted to have representatives from every community here today."

For more information: Contact Youth Services Director Nancy Zahler at 274-5310.