$225,000 state grant to allot more resources to youth risk avoidance programs

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Young people living in several Westchester communities will soon have access to more resources to help them avoid potentially risky behavior.

State and local leaders proudly showed off a $225,000 state grant Monday at the Westchester County office building .

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins was instrumental in securing the funding that will expand the Westchester County Youth Bureau’s Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program.

"Youth cannot take care of themselves, may not necessarily know what they need. So when we can support in ways that will enhance their future, I think it is incumbent upon us to do that,” says Stewart-Cousins.

Youth bureaus in Yonkers, New Rochelle, White Plains, Peekskill and Mount Vernon will all get a cut of the grant money to operate the program. It aims to reduce risky behavior, such as drug and alcohol use or engaging in unsafe sexual practices.     

Acting Mayor Andre Wallace says the money his city receives will help move Mount Vernon forward.

"So with this kind of help, which we already have a deficit of problems that we have to overcome, this is something we can use to be able to overcome those situations,” he says.

The Nepperhan Community Center in Yonkers will also receive a portion of the state grant. The nonprofit operates the youth program at Gorton High School.

"We're providing programmed counseling and mentoring and workshops for students engaged in this kind of behavior. So they're properly educated on the dangers of sexually risky behavior,” says Jim Bostic, of the Nepperhan Community Center.

Officials at the Nepperhan Community Center say the grant money will help them increase the program at Gorton High School or expand it to another school.


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