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By FM Magazine

Deb Gordon’s guest was Ruth Stukes, Senior Case Manager of Urban Youth Alliance International (UYAI), a faith based, non-denominational urban youth ministry founded in the Bronx in 1970 as a way to help nurture and transform the lives of young people in the community.

Ms. Stukes, who started out as a student with Urban Youth Alliance International’s Seekers in 1999, spoke passionately about UYAI’s many social service programs including the BronxConnect Alternative to Incarceration Program whereby UYAI works with the courts to help reduce the re-arrest rate of young people age 13-19.

BronxConnect has achieved a better than 75% success in keeping court-involved youth from returning to the system and some of the young people Ms. Stukes and other staffers have worked with, come back to the organization and remain involved, and some go on to help other youth.. “For most of our young people, even after the program is over they still come and reach out to us,” said Stukes.

“That relationship that they can make with adults who care about their interests and care about who they are and care about the positive development of their life, it really does wonders for someone who may be struggling with schoolwork, or may be struggling with gang activity, or just struggling with poverty…so having someone who cares really makes a difference,” said Stukes.

The organization also serves to mentor and train at risk youth to become leaders in their community by offering tutoring, career counseling and job placement opportunities. Urban Youth Alliance International will be holding mentor training sessions for interested parties on June 20th and every subsequent 3rd Saturday of each month.

“Whatever 3rd Saturday of the month, if you’re available and you’re interested, and want to help change the mind of a young person, come out to the BronxConnect office at 432 East 149th Street – the trainings run from 10am to 3pm. It’s a great way to give back to the community,” said Stukes.

For more information and to support Urban Youth Alliance International, visit www.uyai.org.

–Deb Gordon/Fresh 102.7

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