Gainesville staff begin planning for new Office of Child and Youth Development

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) — The idea is to have a central hub operated by the city of Gainesville that can serve as a one-stop-shop for all types of youth programs. Gainesville District 3 City Commissioner David Arreola got the green light on Monday to bring the idea to life.

“And we want to make sure that children aren’t left behind as well,” Arreola said. “We have so many programs, so many services, but they’re not really all in one place.

Staff were instructed at Monday’s special meeting to come up with a new budget for the new office.

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“I hope in the years to come we can start hiring young people during the summer,” Arreola said. “That we can help place people in career programs, help kids plan their future whether that includes college or technical training. And all of those things, that’s what we want to do for those kids. We want a place where youth unemployment is very low. »

To bring the Office of Child and Youth Development to life, Arreola works with programs around town that focus on the physical and mental development of young people, such as Aces In Motion.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Addison Staples, executive director of Aces In Motion. Programs like Aces In Motion work with middle and high school students in Alachua County in an after-school setting. The group’s mission is to use tennis to promote the health, character development and academic success of students in underserved communities. Their manager said the new office would help support their mission.

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“I think that’s one of the main things we’re missing,” Staples said. “A comprehensive youth system that supports all young people, regardless of postcode. It doesn’t matter race or ethnicity, age, all of that. May children be supported from birth to 18, if not 22.”

Once City staff create a financial plan for the new office, City Commissioners will have a final vote on whether to approve the Office of Child and Youth Development.

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