District 8 Staff's blog

Learning, Growing through PB

Back in November I was on a quest to add more depth to my life and break up the monotony of my day to day routine.  More importantly because I work a full-time job I really wanted to be able to do something that would allow me to strengthen my current skill set in Community and Economic development or develop a new one.

That’s when I came across a volunteer opportunity to participate as a Budget Delegate in the 2013 Participatory Budgeting process with Council District 8. After reading up about the process and the responsibilities, I realized what a great opportunity it was!

I’m proud to say that thus far this opportunity has given me a sense of inclusion and empowerment. Although I’m from the South Bronx I work in Harlem and consider myself a stakeholder in the community. PB gives the power back to the community--the power to play an active role in improving the aesthetic and built environment in their own backyard.  As an aspiring Urban Planner  this process further grounds me in believing in the power of community and the bottom-up approach. Thank you PB!

- Krystal Peartree, District 8 Budget Delegate

District 8 Budget Delegates

East Harlem Youth Embrace Participatory Budgeting

“But to what extent will this project benefit the whole community?” Jonathan asked.

“But son, it’s a golf course on a roof! What could be cooler than that?” said another young delegate.

“Who’s gonna go play golf on a roof? We need to get more computers in our struggling schools!” yelled a third.

This debate was just one example of the lively discussions among budget delegates during a recent late-night meeting in East Harlem, as they weighed their community’s project ideas against the criteria of community need and feasibility.

In year two of participatory budgeting in District 8, more than 25 young people are participating as budget delegates in our youth and education committees. In our last youth committee meeting, two delegates from the Boys and Girl Harbor after-school program presented their project proposal for major gym and roof repairs for their center. Other delegates asked about how many people, programs and sports teams used the space. The teens passed around photographs showing the holes in the roof and other damage that needed to be fixed.

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