Tuesday, September 28, 2010

If the kids don't play then who will?

On NORD Reform
By: Cornelle D. Carney
September 28, 2010

In the civilian world, I am the youth liaison at the Greater New Orleans Afterschool Partnership (GNOAP), a nonprofit intermediary organization that promotes out-of-school activities for young people. Before I deployed in January 2010, I spent the last four months of 2009 promoting the 10 for 2010 platform. This platform includes ten reform initiatives that GNOAP and the out-of-school community wanted the next mayor, now Mitch Landrieu, to adopt. One of those reform efforts was the restructuring of NORD into a public-private partnership venture which purpose would be to bring the NORD facilities and programs up to standard. An example of this standard comes from neighbors in Baton Rouge—BREC. This reform effort has moved from the idea stage to possibility.

As I did in 2009, I still stand behind this reform effort which is coming up for vote. Some of the critics of this plan are skeptical of it because they are concerned that community input and interests were not present during the idea-to-possibility stage process. This concern is valid and I wholeheartedly adore the commitment to preserving community interest by including them in all major planning process. Consistent with this commitment, I assure the community that their interest were included. For one, GNOAP engaged youth, including me, in this process by having them research other recreation departments in cities similar to New Orleans. We were tasked with figuring out what differences and similarities were there any why. Numerous meetings and conversations were held with parents about this initiative explaining this issue. This issue was discussed with parents, students, educators, business people, politicians, and other public interests at the January 5, 2010 mayoral forum at Walter L. Cohen High School.

Furthermore, this initiative was supported by hundreds of youth and adult allies at the Super Youth Saturday Rally which was held on January 23, 2010. As you can see, much effort has been made around obtaining community input. I call upon the community to move this initiative forward to bring quality back to our children. Our young people are no less deserving than their peers in other cities but we are treating them like second rate, undeserving citizens. As the Army is always preaching to soldiers “Do the Right Thing!” Who Dat for Kids?

I invite you all to read this op-ed I wrote regarding this: http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2009/11/between_school_and_home_a_gap.html

Between school and home, a gap to fill: A guest column by Cornelle Carney
Young people possess an innate curiosity to explore the city and learn new things. But in my opinion, there aren't enough positive venues for New Orleans youth to explore and foster their curiosity. Often, youth like me are criticized for our choices, behaviors, styles and interests. Well, I am old ...


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