V.I.C.T.O.R.Y (Volunteers Inspiring Change Through Opportunities Reaching Youth) was established to provide a venue for Mount Vernon’s youth to make a difference in the world by helping others. Volunteers have provided services in locations such as the Wartburg, Sacred Heart Soup Kitchen, and the Armory.
The program is a collaboration between the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau, Mount Vernon City School District, the Guidance Center Inc. and WestHab Inc. This program is designed to provide structured educational assistance, creative enrichment opportunities and youth development activities to Mount Vernon High School students.
The NYS Department of Education, through the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant has funded this program to provide comprehensive services within the largest high school in the City of Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon High School.
Credit Recovery is one of the greatest strengths of this program.
Local senior residents volunteer to promote literacy and academic improvements in various elementary schools. Both the youth and seniors are also members of the Intergenerational Community Choir, which features the well known “rapping grannies.” The choir rehearses weekly with a music director to provide elementary students at Trapaghen Elementary School with music lesions and stage performance.
The Safe Haven Summer Camp was developed to provide a fun and safe recreation environment for students’ ages 6-12, during summer vacation, at a nominal fee. This program is made possible through the Westchester County Board of Legislators funding.
During the months of July and August, campers attend the Safe Haven Summer Camp where they are able to attend exciting field trips such as: Lake Compounce; Splish Splash; Mountain Creek; Great Escape; Regal Cinema at New Roc City;
For 16 years, the Safe Haven Program has provided children with positive youth development programming during after-school hours. The Safe Haven Program is a drop-in after-school program that offers academic and social support. The Future Society Association and mentors interact with the students through fun and exciting obstacle course games.
Youth are interviewed and hired to work during after-school hours throughout the year. This program requires the youth’s participation in bi-weekly, youth development workshops. Youth are placed within churches, daycares and schools to tutor and mentor young children.