I spent this afternoon at Red Hook. First I spent some time with the participants in Youth ECHO, our new youth program that is putting teen leaders to work crafting an anti-crime campaign for their peers -- under Elise's able direction, and with the pro bono assistance of some professional marketers. I was particularly impressed by their ideas for using new media, including ringtones and YouTube, to get their message across.
Next, I attended the first-ever graduation of the Red Hook attendance court. It was one of those feel-good events where you see first-hand our ability to bring together community residents, the justice system and assorted partners behind a common cause -- in this case, helping truant students learn to attend school. I'm not sure what the highlight was for me. It could have been when the keynote speaker, former judge Michael Corriero, explained to the participants in the program that a diploma would be their secret weapon/source of power like Peter Parker's spider bite. Or it could have been when the principal of PS 27 talked about how she'll say yes to any idea that the Red Hook Community Justice Center brings to her. Or it could have been the palpable connection between Brett and Leroy, who serve as the judicial hearing officers, and the kids in the program. I could go on, but you get the picture. But I suppose my lasting memory, sucker that I am for collective enterprise, will be the sense of teamwork and mutual appreciation between the folks in Red Hook and the Center for Courts and the Community crew. Thanks to James, Jackie, Dory, Susanna, Gene, Phil, Melissa, Kate and everyone else who helped make this evening a success.