Brooklyn Park Restarts Youth Outreach
When Brooklyn Park police officers get a call about youth not properly social distancing, instead of sending out an officer, they pass information along to the youth outreach team. The team members might have previously connected with the young people at Zanewood Recreation Center, and can help communicate important, accurate information. Since Zanewood and other recreational centers are closed, youth engagement means team members have to venture into the community for positive interactions.
“We activated the youth outreach team as a way to meet youth where they are and connect them with youth outreach workers who they’ve formed a relationship with over the last couple of years,” said Pam McBride, youth services manager with recreation and parks. “We did that so that we could educate young people on COVID-19.”
McBride says youth often get information from different sources, so there’s value in making sure they get correct information on social distancing. Staff also communicate about e-learning, hand out snacks, and keep a positive relationship going.
Pearll Warren, a youth outreach worker, says often it’s about answering questions.
“Should I go home, should I play with a friend, what does that look like? If I go to the park, what does that look like,” said Pearll Warren, a youth outreach worker. “We’re out there trying to help, redirect our young people and engage with our youth in the community.”
Team Outreach members wear gloves and masks for protection and logoed youth outreach t-shirts to be identifiable. If you see a team member, don’t hesitate to say hello.
“Just wave, keep a safe distance, and keep moving,” said Warren.