Back in April, Patch met with Alyson Benoit, a junior at Albertus Magnus HS, and Chris Yannazzone, a junior at Tappan Zee HS, to learn more about their in attempt to save youth programs cut from the Town of Orangetown.
After a few months, there's good news.
"We're so excited that the 2012 Youth Police Academy has been saved," said Benoit. "We want to thank everyone that supported the George Bergerman Youth Activities Fund. If you're interested in joining please apply by calling Lt. Butterworth at 845-359-1487. It's an experience you don't want to miss."
The academy will be June 25 - 29 and can take 20 cadets.
"I would sincerely like to thank the members of this community that saved this program for the youth of Orangetown," she added. "We received contributions from the most generous and caring private citizens, businesses and organizations! It is because of them, that this academy was saved!! Without them it would not have been possible. We have so much work to do to try to save the D.A.R.E. program in September as well as the Youth Police Academies in years to come!"
Below is a Letter to the Editor from Benoit.
My name is Alyson Benoit and I am a Junior at Albertus Magnus High School. I am writing on behalf of the George Bergerman Youth Activities Fund to update the community on our progress. This fund was started as a result of the youth programs in Orangetown being cut from the budget.
This means that programs such as the D.A.R.E. program and the Orangetown Youth Police Academy, among others, were REMOVED from Orangetown and were no longer being offered to the young people in Orangetown! The D.A.R.E. program, which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, is a cooperative venture between Education and Law Enforcement.
It was taught in both the elementary and middle schools. D.A.R.E. taught kids about: bullying, gangs, internet safety, Rx and OTC medicine abuse and other drugs. The program also dealt with the issue of how kids could stop violence. These are extremely important and very relevant issues facing young kids today. This program needs to be reinstated!
The Youth Police Academy, is a condensed version of a real Police Academy for kids ages 14-18 years old. The academy teaches young cadets physical exercise, military training, and the many aspects of law enforcement. This is an extremely important and very relevant opportunity for young men and women who would like to gain a deeper understanding of law enforcement.
These are just two of the programs that were removed from the children and young people of our town! These are also two programs that worked to create an appreciation and understanding between young people and people in law enforcement. The goal of the George Bergerman Youth Activities Fund is to keep these programs and to help support the connection between kids and law enforcement ofﬁcials.
I am very happy to inform you that because of the efforts and fundraising by the George Bergerman Youth Activities Fund and most importantly because of the generous and caring donations by many organizations, businesses and private citizens, the Orangetown Youth Police Academy WILL BE offered this June!
There have been modiﬁcations made to the curriculum such as the length of the Academy. It will now be one week instead of two and the trips have been scaled down. But, the Orangetown Youth Police Academy will live another year! If you are interested, or know someone who may be interested in being a cadet in this years Youth Police Academy, there are only 20 seats available in this years class.
The dates of this years academy are June 25th to the June 29th. Please see your high school principal or contact Lt. Butterworth at 845-359-1487.To date we have raised approximately $3,000. We need to continue to raise funds in order to put the D.A.R.E. program back into the schools in September. Please help us to establish a fund that will be independent of the budget, so that these programs will never go away.
We are looking for people to join us to that we can create fundraising opportunities and awareness of this situation. We understand that the Youth Police Academy was barely saved this year. We need the community"s help to establish a fund to keep these programs going for next year and years to come. We have been successful because of Lt. Butterworth and his tireless efforts to advise us. He genuinely cares about the young people in Orangetown and the programsavailable to them.
We would also like to thank Chris Smith of Pearl River, for his advice nd efforts on behalf of the GBYA Fund. We thank them very much and could not do any of this without either of them. If you would like to help us, have ideas for fundraising, or would like to donate to the fund, our mailing address is:
George Bergerman Youth Activities Fund
26 Orangeburg Road
Orangeburg, New York 10962
Attention: Lt. Butterworth
With your help we can make a difference to the kids of our town, please let"s not let them down.
---Alyson Benoit, George Bergerman Youth Activities Fund, Orangeburg