Jamaica Center BID
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September 19, 2020

New Work Readiness Partnership to Enhance Downtown Jamaica

Media Contact Jamaica Center BID: Trey Jenkins
Director of Marketing and Business Services
[email protected]

Media Contact Queens Youth Justice Center: Erika McSwain
[email protected]

For Immediate Release:

Jamaica, Queens, September 19, 2020 – Two local nonprofits, the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District “BID” and the Queens Youth Justice Center “the Justice Center”, a demonstration project of the Center for Court Innovation, launched a new partnership today that is expected to significantly beautify the business corridor in downtown Jamaica. The partnership will deploy youth enrolled in workforce development programming at the Justice Center to downtown Jamaica where they engage in weekly community benefit projects, focusing on the north-south cross streets bisecting the Jamaica Avenue commercial corridor and a portion of Archer Avenue every Saturday for five hours for the next three years. Litter collected by the youth will then be transported out of the district by the Jamaica Center BID’s existing sanitation staff which cleans Jamaica Avenue from Sutphin Boulevard to 169th Street seven days a week.

“Every year, our BID’s Clean Team sweeps away nearly 50,000 bags worth of litter from 32 block faces on Jamaica Avenue,” stated Jennifer Furioli, Executive Director of the Jamaica Center BID. “However, the side streets leading to our shopping district that aren’t covered by our BID are still filled with litter. Side streets are usually the first impression shoppers have when entering our downtown because most parking garages and subway exits are located there. Thanks to this new partnership, shoppers will experience a more pleasant retail experience right from the moment of their arrival.”

The partnership is expected to provide an additional 2,430 hours of community benefit services to Jamaica’s downtown over the next three years. Funding for the partnership comes from the Department of Probation’s Be Ready ECHOES program, a three-year grant that was awarded to the Queens Youth Justice Center through June of 2023.

As part of the partnership, Queens Youth Justice Center staff will provide participants with ongoing workforce development training to learn and gain the skills needed to obtain and maintain employment. The community benefit projects will allow participants to gain hands on experience while also help to make changes in their community.  Participants will receive a stipend as part of their engagement in programming. Erika McSwain, director at the Queens Youth Justice Center stated, “We are excited about this partnership with the Jamaica Center BID to allow our participants to gain hands on experience and an opportunity to improve the public spaces in their community. We know this is only the beginning of an exciting relationship that will push forward our goal of increasing public safety throughout the communities we serve through improving community public spaces.”

To further enhance the experience of the youth participants, the Jamaica Center BID has agreed to educate the youth about urban planning, BID and nonprofit management and community improvement careers. “If one of these participants is inspired to pursue studies or a career in the BID field after going through this program, we would be thrilled,” added Furioli. The Queens Youth Justice Center participants were able to help paint the Black Lives Matter mural on Jamaica Avenue in late July. Furioli is hoping to recruit other nonprofit and NYC agency executives to speak to the participants about their jobs, and to engage the youth in planting flowers throughout the district as well.

About the Center for Court Innovation: Queens Youth Justice Center

The Center for Court Innovation seeks to create a more effective and humane justice system. The Center has operated the Queens Youth Justice Center (QYJC) since 2007, providing a series of programs, particularly youth development programs to the entire borough of Queens. Over the past decade, QYJC has engaged young people, ages 12-18, in court-mandated programs—such as Department of Probation-funded ICM Plus mentoring program and the QUEST Alternative-to-Detention program, as well as voluntary programming, including Queens Neighborhood Youth Justice Council and Youth Court. The Center has also built strong ties to many community-based organizations, service providers, and government entities, including the New York Police Department, local schools, the Administration for Children’s Services and the Department of Probation. For more info visit www.courtinnovation.org/programs/queens-youth-justice-center.

About the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District (BID)
Founded as the Jamaica District Management Association in 1979, the Jamaica Center BID is central to one of New York City’s fastest growing communities. Jamaica Center BID is the proud home to national and regional retailers, several major cultural and educational institutions as well as City, State and Federal Offices, and more than 400 businesses. The Jamaica Center BID seeks to maintain Jamaica Center as a thriving business hub and premier destination to shop, work, live and play. For more info visit www.Jamaica.nyc.

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