On July 18th, WCA held a Summer Celebration marking New York State’s recent passage of legislation raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18. As in previous years, this celebration of Raise the Age not only highlighted a major victory for kids, but also served as a thank you to our partners who helped make that victory happen. Joining us were elected officials, clergy members, youth serving organizations, teen advocates, members of the WCA Board, and others who had helped advocate for the law’s passage.
Passage of the new Raise the Age law was certainly a victory, but there is still be a long road ahead to make sure the law is implemented correctly. To that end, just prior to the celebration, a number of county stakeholders—including leaders of community-based organizations, elected officials, judges, clergy, and police officers—joined WCA for an initial round table discussion, facilitated by Deputy Director Allison Lake, of the challenges, concerns and opportunities in implementing the law here in Westchester.
Once serious business wrapped up, it was time to party! The First Baptist Church of White Plains graciously hosted our meeting and our celebration, providing a beautiful space both indoors and out. WC4K member, Anthony’s Coal-Fired Pizza of White Plains generously donated a large number of pizzas to feed our guest while they listened to some tunes from DJ Lord Judah. We even attracted some local media, News 12 and Fios1!
The highlight of the afternoon was a reading from author Jim St. Germain from his newly-released memoir “A Stone of Hope“. Jim was a young man of 15 once when he found himself in trouble with the law, just months away from his 16th birthday and that was lucky for him. Had he been a few month older, he would not have received the rehabilitative services that he did. He is now a college-graduate, father, author and chairperson of a nonprofit organization called Preparing Leaders of Tomorrow. Jim is a testament to what our youth can become when they receive age-appropriate services after making a mistake in their early years of life.
WCA Executive Director, Cora Greenberg and special guest Jim St. Germain raffled off four, signed copies of “A Stone of Hope” to some lucky guests. The special evening ended with a sweet treat when the Kona Ice Truck of Southern Westchester parked out front, offering our guests shaved ices with an array of flavors to choose from.
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