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February 7, 2024



A Teen Led Clubhouse

"Safe in Harlem" is a CDC and OASAS-funded teen-led coalition that champions an alcohol and drug-free lifestyle for teens and youth in our community. This ground-breaking program was founded and flourished under the leadership of Dr. Felecia Pullen, Ph.D. who built a 12-sector coalition that is deeply rooted, community-focused, and culturally-responsive.In collaboration with civic engagement partners, local politicians, youth-serving organizations, educational institutions, local businesses, media outlets, parents, healthcare providers, and law enforcement.

"Safe in Harlem" provides opportunities for Harlem teens to be healthy, civically involved, policy creators, environmental activists, and policy advocates. They work to prevent drug use and mitigate potential harms associated with experimentation. Dr. Pullen's team, and teen leaders, have also developed comprehensive programs to enhance parent-child communication, promote academic achievement, and increase positive community engagement.

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SAFE in Harlem also offers dynamic mentorship programs, pairing teens with experienced professionals from diverse fields including educators, doctors, technology professionals, entrepreneurs, and community stakeholders. Each mentor serves as a positive role model who shares their experiences and guides teens and youth toward making informed choices.

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SAFE in Harlem stands out from other programs due to its commitment to culturally responsive offerings like: annual trips to Washington D.C. for National Youth Leadership Initiative training; evidence-based programs and parenting-enhancement workshops, teen-guided artistic installations, promotional campaigns and public service announcements; educational resources and support for teachers; access computers, homework help, and college prep...all services are specifically for underserved populations in Harlem.

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NY Focus Highlights Failings in OASAS's Oversight of Residential Service Programs

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NY Focus has highlighted issues regarding the Office of Addiction Services and Supports' (OASAS) oversight of residential addiction programs. NY Focus examined State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s 2021 audit of OASAS's residential services programs, noting that certifications (for example) had lapsed for every single one of randomly selected programs. Most had been out of regulatory compliance since before the Covid pandemic.

During recertification, OASAS itself identified 243 deficiencies in only 25 programs. None of the programs cited were able to say how they would address their deficiencies, nor did OASAS ask for proof that they’d been resolved. Ten of the 25 programs didn’t even receive an on-site visit from OASAS during their recertification period.

In one case, OASAS marked a program as non-compliant, requiring them to follow up six months later in June 2018. Nearly two years later, regulators still hadn’t visited the program.

Youth Construct 

Youth Construct, a Harlem based non-profit organization that provides construction administration training and subsequent summer internships to motivated 11th and 12th graders from under-served communities. It is a non-profit arm of Bottomline Construction Development, a Harlem based minority woman owned real estate construction and development firm.

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In Youth Construct's 8 months training program, students attend two after-school classes each week. At the end of the 8 month training, students are hired into paid 3 month summer internships with established companies in the construction field

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