Rochester is uniquely positioned to address issues directly impacting our children.  Community needs for youth development and recreation are extensive and opportunities for alliance with industry partners are tremendous. To support and empower our residents we need to prioritize and enhance the opportunities offered to our youth. Malik will work to expand access to programs that support youth development and ensure that the City’s Department of Youth, Recreation and Human Services will facilitate proactive engagement between our youth and strategic partnerships and resources to achieve success.  Malik will sustain and expand opportunities for teens and young adults to be engaged in job training, post-secondary education, employment resources, career interest exploration, and internships. Under Malik’s leadership, all of Rochester’s youth will have access to high-quality development opportunities to ensure that our youth are safe, healthy, educated, and prepared for adulthood. As Mayor, Malik will:

“After serving on the Rochester Board of Education for many years, I am aware of the issues that impact our schools, students and families. I know that the District cannot educate our children in a vacuum, without the support of our community. Understanding our city’s complexities, our residents deserve a Mayor who is responsive to their needs and willing to serve as a collaborative partner with our educational leaders.”

Malik Evans

The relationship between City Hall and the Rochester City School District has been strained by political discord and plagued by high turnover in administration. However, there are many opportunities for support and collaboration between the two organizations. As Mayor, Malik will partner with the Rochester City School District to ensure that all children in Rochester are prepared for college and career. This will be accomplished by working with the District to ensure that resources are allocated to supporting out of school learning opportunities, effective advocacy for our children, and engaging Rochesterians in a coordinated and efficient manner to increase community support and equitable public funding for education.

“I have a proven track record of convening leaders from our community to address common goals. As Mayor, I will employ these strategies to assemble leaders of programs and initiatives who serve our youth to explore and address how we, as a collective, may better focus on essential elements of adolescent well-being and development.”

Malik Evans

The current landscape of youth development programs and initiatives in Rochester is diverse in their ability to meet the developmental needs of our children. The need to strengthen the organizational capacity of these efforts cannot be ignored. City government must play an instrumental role in establishing the partnerships, collaborations, and other working relationships needed to promote the healthy development and well-being of Rochester’s youth. As Mayor, Malik will bring together practitioners, researchers, and key stakeholders to implement capacity-building activities, introduce philanthropic opportunities, and increase the access and visibility of nonprofits that work with our city’s youth.

“I grew up a rec center kid…. For decades, our recreational centers have served as safe havens for our youth and hubs for neighborhood empowerment efforts ranging from associations and block clubs to adult education and fitness programming. We must continue to capitalize on the potential that exists in the location, amenities, and long-standing support of our recreation centers with necessary investment in the infrastructure and options offered.” The caring adults in the Recreation centers helped mold the man I have become. Recreation Centers that offer strong programming can help set young people up for success in life.”

Malik Evans

Need meets opportunity in the City of Rochester’s recreation facilities. Research has shown that access to parks and recreation centers is associated with the health and vitality of individuals and communities. The National Recreation and Parks Association underscores this point in noting that recreation and education opportunities strengthen the community in multiple ways; including, bringing together neighbors, keeping or getting people of all ages healthy and fit, and providing learning opportunities and life skills. All of these contribute to a more connected and vibrant community. Malik pledges to invest in Rochester’s recreation centers to maximize support for our youth and families with intentional focus on educational opportunities, preventative programs and youth employment.

Creation of a youth employment plan will dramatically expand early career opportunities and skills training to Rochester youth. Using the federal stimulus money, this program would triple the funding available to the city’s youth employment services division to $3 million and guarantee a job to any teenager who wants one. Teens would also be provided with training on workplace skills and expectations, business and management concepts, and personal finance.

“An investment in our youth is an investment in our future. My own job at Genesee Valley Park as a teenager provided me with skills that prepared me for life. RochesterWorks, a terrific organization that helps hundreds of kids each year, had almost 2,000 applicants for only 332 spots in the 2020 Summer Youth Employment Program. If we guaranteed a job to every applicant, we could teach thousands of children the skills to be successful in life while putting money in their pockets and helping Rochester’s small businesses. I will work to build a broad-based coalition of government, business, philanthropy, and education to get the resources we need to make Youth2Work successful.

Malik Evans

Teen Court is a program where the District Attorney’s office defers prosecution and diverts low-level offenses to a court system where teen peers act as attorneys and jurors.

“I had the privilege of serving as one of the first youth attorneys when I was in high school.”

Malik Evans

One of Rochester’s most successful intervention services, Teen Court allows young people with low level misdemeanors to atone for their crimes while keeping their record clean. Private philanthropy has been supporting Teen Court in recent years. My administration will work with those organizations to ensure that as many appropriate cases as possible are referred to this valuable, restorative program, and provide additional resources so that teens’ first offense will be their last. We will also expand support for peer mediation training so that more youth are prepared to peacefully resolve conflicts that have plagued our community.