Mayor Bloombergs Budget Proposes Eliminating Teen RAPP a Successful Teen Anti-Violence, Anti-Bullying Program in NYC
By Mel Fabrikant Friday, February 22, 2013, 07:58 PM EST
The Center Against Domestic Violence (CADV), CAMBA and STEPS to End Family Violence/Edwin Gould Services for Children & Families announced they are mobilizing to restore $3 Million in critical funding for the successful citywide public school-based Teen Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (Teen RAPP), eliminated in Mayor Bloombergs proposed FY14 Executive Budget.
Nonprofit coalition mobilizes to restore funding; Will again use the popular Rap 4 RAPP! contest to get the Save Teen RAPP message out.
One of the nations most successful violence-prevention programs, Teen RAPP deals with relationship violence in all its forms, including dating violence and abusive relationships as well as bullying and risky sexual behavior. At $66 per student per year, it is New York City's most cost-efficient social intervention and prevention program.
Teen RAPP services are provided to nearly 45,000 ethnically and culturally diverse students in 65 middle and high schools throughout the City of New York.
Despite its impressive record over its 13-year history, and in a time when students need more coping skills than ever, the Teen RAPP coalition has had to fight for the reinstatement of the program in the last three executive budgets. The tens of thousands of NYC students and families served by the program were extremely dismayed to find that when Mayor Bloomberg released his executive budget for Fiscal Year 2014, the RAPP Program was again slated for elimination.
As it has done since 2010, the Save Teen Rapp Coalition is seeking the New York City Councils support. The Coalition will again make an appeal to City Council memberswho have been extremely supportive of RAPP and understand the important role it plays in the lives of NYC students and their familiesto join with them once again to restore funding to this crucial program. The City Council has consistently voted to continue funding of the RAPP program, with the remaining funding coming from the NYC Human Resources Administration.
For thirteen years this program has helped teens and families confront and eliminate violence in their lives and relationships. The strategies it teaches and the support network it provides ultimately creates a safe environment, prevents injuries and indeed saves lives, said Judith Kahan, CEO, Center Against Domestic Violence.
"We hear so much talk across the country about engaging teens and families in building real solutions to the problems of dating violence, family violence and bullyingbut here in New York City, Teen RAPP has been doing just that for over ten years. Every year, Teen RAPP saves NYC millions in potential costs related to medical treatment, hospitalization, juvenile detention, teen pregnancy, shelter placement, and other social services," said Lucia Rivieccio, Director, STEPS to End Family Violence.
In his testimony before NYC City Council in 2012, Wilfree Vasquez, a Teen RAPP program alumnus of Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Manhattan said, Because of RAPP, I was able to live in a nonviolent fearless world.
"Teens need a network of support if they are dealing with violent situations at home or in dating and peer relationships. Kids in all five boroughs benefit from the support Teen RAPP provides, as they learn skills to help themselves, their families and peers properly handle and prevent dangerous relationships," said Kevin Coffey, Assistant Deputy Director, CAMBA.
The Rap 4 RAPP Contest: Using Hip-Hop to Save Teen RAPP!
Last year, skilled teen MCs helped raise awareness of the need to save Teen RAPPand the need for healthy relationships by competing in the Rap 4 RAPP competition.
Winners Tyriek Overton and Jovan Martinez and all the contestants truly did the Teen RAPP program proud (View the extraordinary winning raps HERE!). This hip-hop contest calls on students from all five boroughs to write and record raps sharing their perspectives on relationshipsboth about what can go wrong as well as strategies Teen RAPP offers that can be of help. Details on this years competition will follow in the weeks ahead.
To help save teen RAPP and learn more about this vital program, visit www.SaveTeenRAPP.org