NEW YORK (Aug. 2)
Some 400 Jewish teenagers from poor families in New York City are participating in an eight-week federally-funded Neighborhood Youth Corps program administered by Torah Umesorah, officials of the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools reported today. The 415 teenagers enrolled in the program for the months of July and August are working at least 27 hours a week and will earn a total of nearly $150,000 during the summer. The project, funded through the Office of Economic Opportunity and the Youth Services Agency of New York City, concentrates on city teenagers who are either actual or potential school dropouts. Rabbi Joel Kramer, principal of the Prospect Park Yeshiva High School, director for the Torah Umesorah project, said the participants also are gaining experience in a variety of job situations, such as junior counsellors, library aids, clerical helpers and recreational instructors. There are some 47,000 teenagers participating in the overall city summer youth corps project.
A spokesman for Torah Umesorah said that about 90 percent of the 415 teenagers were Jews and he estimated that around 80 percent of them were from yeshivas and day schools, with a large number from Hassidic families where poverty is widespread. The other 10 percent, he said, were Blacks and Puerto Ricans. The day school anti-poverty project, the third under Torah Umesorah administration, is structured not only to prevent dropouts but also to bring back to school teenagers who have dropped out for financial reasons, the spokesman said. Facilities for training the teenagers have been provided at about 110 separate job sites in the city, including day camps. Head Start centers, summer schools, school offices and overnight camps. The program, therefore, is of direct benefit to many non-profit agencies, he said. Torah Umesorah, as the sponsoring agency, provides voluntary services at an estimated cost of nearly $50,000. These services include counselling, remedial education, cultural enrichment, job development, recruitment and job supervision. The participants were found through a recruiting campaign this spring in public and Jewish day schools throughout the city.