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Youth Bureau

July 15, 2019 - 3:12pm
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia, community garden, news, Youth Bureau.

The Batavia Community Garden, located at 12 MacArthur Drive next to the Batavia Youth Bureau, is expanding and being reorganized as the Youth Bureau transitions to its new St. Anthony’s at City Church location on Liberty Street.

The Community Garden recently removed its south fence and added a 4,400-square-foot expansion. The extended gardening space allowed for four 4’ x 4’ and four 4’ x 8’ raised beds to be constructed and placed in the garden by volunteers during the United Way Day of Caring in May.

The addition of a 12’ x 16’ wooden pergola is underway and will be completed during the 2020 growing season. The shaded pergola will serve as a community social meeting area within the garden to supplement the existing shaded resting spot.

The Community Garden Advisory Board is also facing changes to its leadership due to vacant positions. These were created when City Manager Martin Moore learned that two volunteer advisory board members, Bob Gray and Carol Boshart, were not city residents as required by a provision in the city charter.

This resulted in the reappointment of those members as non-voting special liaisons to the board. The reassignment caused frustration among board members due to a proposed change to city municipal code that relaxes residency requirements for city employees.

At the June 24 City Council meeting, council members were welcome to a review of the charter in order to reconcile the issue with the advisory board.

“They discussed it and why they had to enforce it. It was a city charter versus a municipal code. But, I’m still here — being a master gardener is a passion,” Bob Gray said.

Gray cofounded the garden in 2011 and served as the former secretary before his Stafford residency caused him to become a non-voting liaison.

“They’ve been very supportive," Gray said of the city, despite his reappointment. "Whenever we need anything, we just shoot them an email and it gets tended to.”

The City of Batavia supports the garden through maintenance work and funding.

Jocelyn Sikorski, Youth Bureau director and Community Garden coordinator, acts as a liaison between the city and the garden. She said that the reorganization of board members has presented some challenges that the board is working to overcome.

“[The special liaisons] were part of the group that started this," Sikorski said. "So, they really are invested and they care about it overall. Those are the people that we want at the table, and I don’t have city residents banging down my door to fill those two vacant spots."

Sikorski recognized that there will be further changes for the Community Garden as the Youth Bureau relocates to its new 114 Liberty St., Batavia, home. The Youth Bureau will continue to collaborate with the garden although the Batavia City School District will occupy its former facility.

“We will probably establish a different type of Youth Garden at St. Anthony’s starting next year," Sikorski said. "We will keep bringing the kids over throughout the end of the summer and into the fall to maintain these beds once we have relocated and close our doors here.”

In the midst of these changes, the garden's community outreach continues. Throughout the season, surplus produce and cut flowers are donated to benefit individuals at Washington Towers and Crossroads House.

“A lot of cities our size don’t have community gardens," Gray said. "This is an asset.”

Photo by Lauren Leone.

May 13, 2019 - 4:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in teen city, St. Anthony's, batavia, Youth Bureau, news, notify.


The planned move of the Youth Bureau to St. Anthony's on Liberty Street, Batavia, is on schedule and the new program should open in time for the school year this fall, said Jocelyn Sikorski in an interview last week.

Sikorski is the director of both the city's and the county's Youth Bureau and the combined program will move from its current location at 12 MacArthur Drive, Batavia, this summer.

The Youth Bureau will go from a 1,800-square-foot building to more than 11,000 square feet of available space, and from a location practically on the outskirts of the City to one near the center of the city and closer to the underserved youth population on the Southside.

St. Anthony's has already become an important youth activity spot thanks to its owner, City Church, and the work of Ryan Macdonald, who leads youth and community activities on Tuesday nights.

Teen City will offer after-school programs to youths age 9 to 16, including a classroom/tech room, recreation room, gaming room, cafeteria, kitchen and full gymnasium during program hours, which are set at 2:30 to 6 p.m. from Monday through Friday during the school year, and 1 to 6 p.m. during the summer.

"There are a lot of youth on the Southside who want those services, who are utilizing those services with Ryan on Tuesday nights, so we’re going to meet the needs of the community as they are and serve those kids who may not be coming to the youth center because of its current location," Sikorski.

The move is expected to be completed in August.

Teen City is a joint project of the Youth Bureau, St. Anthonys's/City Church, the YMCA, and United Way.

"It’s worked out well," Macdonald said. "We love the kids. We think the kids, for the most part, love us. We’re looking for the whole community to be involved.

"We can’t do it on our own and that’s the key takeaway," Macdonald added. "The YMCA is going to be involved the Youth Bureau, the City and the County, United Way is going to be involved. I think that’s an important takeaway because not one entity can do it all on their own. If we work together at it we can get a whole lot more done."

With 100 kids showing up every Tuesday at St. Anthony's, Sikorski said there is ample evidence there is demand for a program like Teen City that is easier for more kids in the city to reach.

With the help of the school district, transportation will be provided to kids who might find St. Anthony's too far away to walk or bike to.

"The other positive is we're modeling the school's behavior and rules with what we’re developing so there will be consistency for these kids," Sikorski "They will know what their expectations are. It’s not going to be any different.

"This will be supervised and structured and it will be a safe place for those kids to go," she added.

The former Youth Bureau building will be taken over by City Schools. Superintendent Chris Dailey said near-term plans are for the high school to use the front parking lot and the building for storage during the ongoing capital improvement project.

The community garden behind the Youth Bureau building will be able to expand into the basketball court area.

Macdonald said he sees this as a positive move for what City Church offers at St. Anthony's and the children of the community.  The Tuesday night programs themselves are expensive to run and only survive because of the generous support of sponsors. Now the children of the area will have more options and more support.

"We’ve all needed somebody to speak into our lives, to love us, to care for us at certain points, and not to say the parents aren’t doing that but we want to add to it," Macdonald said.


The Batavia Youth Bureau moved to the former community pool location in 1998 after the City sold the Bank Street location, which housed the youth bureau and senior services, to the County, which took over the Senior Center at that time. Now it's moving to St. Anthony's.

November 19, 2018 - 1:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in Youth Bureau, news.

Press release:

Each year, the Genesee & Orleans County youth bureaus administer Youth Development Program (YDP) funding made available to Genesee and Orleans counties by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services. In each county, the Youth Board reviews all proposals and submits funding recommendations to the County Legislature for final approval.

Funding is available to support programs for youth 0-21 that provide services, opportunities and supports designed to improve our youth and community. Developed by the NY State Council on Children and Families, the Touchstones framework is organized in six Life Areas: Economic Security; Physical and Emotional Health; Education; Citizenship; Family; and Community.

The goals and objectives are related to each other and call for comprehensive strategies to address any single aspect of children and family well-being.

The following organizations are eligible to apply for funding through the RFP: not-for-profits, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations and municipalities.

Grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations and Genesee County and Orleans County municipalities that will operate to meet goals identified in the Touchstone Life Areas.

Applications are now available and can be obtained by sending an email to: [email protected]

The due date for completed proposals is Wednesday, Dec.12. For additional information, please contact Jocelyn Sikorski, Youth Bureau director at 344-3960.

September 25, 2018 - 4:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Youth Bureau, news, michael ranzenhofer.

Press release:

New York State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has secured $20,000 for the Genesee County Youth Bureau and $10,000 for the City of Batavia Youth Bureau.

“Our youth have unlimited potential to succeed, and this state investment will turn that potential into reality,” Ranzenhofer said. “As your State Senator, my commitment to the future of our children is unwavering. I’m proud to deliver on that commitment.”

The state funding will help support a safe afterschool environment and structured educational programs that provide youth with homework help, tutoring, skill building, and recreational activities.

“Our programs are making a difference by motivating young people to develop a sense of responsibility and contribute to their communities. This funding will be a major boost for our initiatives. I applaud Senator Ranzenhofer for being such a strong supporter of our youth in Genesee County,” said Executive Director for Genesee County & City of Batavia Youth Bureaus Jocelyn Sikorski. 

The funding is part of the 2018-19 State Budget. The funding is administered by the New York State Education Department.

July 19, 2018 - 1:37pm

Press release:

The Genesee County and Batavia Youth Bureaus are planning the annual Safe Summer Children’s Carnival open to the public to take place on Thursday, July 26, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Falleti Ice Arena, 22 Evans St. in Batavia.

One dollar buys a ticket to play 10 games, and children can win “funny money” to redeem for prizes. Entertainment by “Bubblemania” is scheduled from 10-10:45 a.m. and the games will run from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. with a 30-minute lunch break. Folks from the community should plan to bring a bagged lunch or plan to leave for lunch.

There will also be several community agency booths. There will be a grand prize, which consists of two Fantasy Island Amusement and Water Park Admission Tickets and a one-year membership to the YMCA that can be won by visiting the booths.

For more information on the carnival please contact Chelsea at the Genesee County Youth Bureau at 344-3960.

July 13, 2018 - 11:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Youth Bureau, news.

Press release:

The Genesee County Youth Bureau is seeking applicants for the Genesee Youth Lead Program. Applicants should be a Genesee County high school student entering their freshman through senior year.

The program is focused on developing leadership skills within an individual through each specific session and through hands-on experience.  Each session will have a different focus on our community and leadership.

The Youth Lead Program will take place at GVEP BOCES beginning Oct. 10, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will be held once a month on the second Wednesday of each month.

The program dates are Oct. 10, Nov. 14, Dec. 12, Jan. 9, Feb. 13, March 13, April 10, and May 8.

Youths who complete the program are encouraged to use the skills and information gained through their experience to support the communities in which they live.

The selection process will be done through an application and interview process by the staff. The class size is limited.

The program will cost $75 for each student. If there is an economic hardship please contact the Genesee County Youth Bureau.

Applications for the program can be found here

Please contact the Genesee County Youth Bureau with questions at (585)344-3960 or at [email protected].

February 10, 2018 - 4:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Youth Bureau, news.


Press release:

On Tuesday, local youth from Genesee County met with Senator Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Hawley to get support by investing money in the Youth Bureau System.

The youths asked for help in urging the $1.698 million to be restored for the 2018-2019 Youth Bureau Development Program. The Youth Development Program allows youth bureaus, along with many other community-based organizations to operate after-school prevention programs, which helps young people succeed.

The youths all shared their experiences being involved with the Youth Bureau System and how it has positively impacted their lives.


January 10, 2018 - 4:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in Youth Bureau, 2018 needs assessment, news, Announcements.
Press release:

The Genesee County Youth Bureau allocates funding to youth-serving organizations that provide programming to meet identified community needs. In order to ensure that resources are being used effectively, we are seeking input from community members.

We have developed a quick survey with demographics through Survey Monkey for youth in grades six and up, parents, concerned members of the community and youth serving professionals to complete in order to gain their perspective. There are six Life Areas identified through this survey that the Youth Bureau/Board uses to fund programs on an annual basis.

With your help, we will evaluate and prioritize the Life Areas that are important to our community. 

This needs assessment will be open Jan. 10 through Feb. 10. This is a great way to gather feedback from our community when it comes to determining what programs and services are needed.

To complete the survey, please click on the link below or visit our website. The survey will only take a couple of minutes to complete. Thank you in advance for providing your feedback, Genesee County Youth Bureau.



August 10, 2017 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Youth Bureau, batavia, news.


Due to the water disruption on the north end of Vine Street, the John Kennedy Parks Program will be relocated to the Batavia Youth Center (12 MacArthur Drive) for the day.

The kids and their rec. leaders will walk to the center, which is next door to the Batavia High School, and will return to JK Park by 4 p.m. for pick up.  Lunch will be served to the kids at the Youth Center. 

For questions or concerns, please call the Youth Bureau at 585-345-6420. Sorry for the inconvenience!

February 28, 2017 - 5:50pm

Submitted photo of Assemblyman Stephen Hawley with youth representing the Batavia City Youth Bureau, the Genesee County Youth Bureau and the Orleans County Youth Bureau along with staff from the Batavia City Youth Bureau and the Genesee-Orleans County Youth Bureau.

Press release:

Earlier this month, local youth from Genesee and Orleans County met with Senator Ranzenhofer, Senator Ortt and Assemblyman Hawley to get supprt by investing money in the Youth Bureau System. The youth asked for help in urging the $1.7 million to be restored for the 2017-2018 Youth Bureau Development Program.

The Youth Development Program allows youth bureaus, along with many other community based organizations to operate after school prevention programs, which help youth succeed. The youth all shared their experiences being involved with the Youth Bureau System and how it has positively impacted their lives.

January 23, 2017 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Youth Bureau, news.

Press release:

The Genesee County & City of Batavia Youth Boards are looking for nominations for their annual Youth Recognition Banquet. There are three awards presented at the Youth Recognition Banquet:

· Youth Recognition Award — This award recognizes young people who have performed exceptional service to the community and/or have assumed extraordinary roles in their families. Typically, the best candidates for this award are high school students, but we also know there are 12-, 13-, 14-year-olds who exemplify distinctive qualities of service. Several youth will be recognized; however the Youth Boards reserve the right to limit the number of recipients.

· Adult Volunteer — This award recognizes an adult who provides service as a volunteer to youth in Genesee County.

· Adult Youth Worker — This award recognizes a youth service professional whose work surpasses normal expectations.

Recipients will be honored at the Youth Recognition Banquet on March 30. Nominations are due by Wednesday, Feb. 15. For more information or to receive nomination forms, please call the Genesee County Youth Bureau at 344-3960 or [email protected]. The forms are also on the Youth Bureau page of the Genesee County website, www.co.genesee.ny.us.

January 17, 2017 - 10:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Youth Bureau, news, Announcements.

Press release:

The Genesee Community College’s Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) Program and Genesee County Youth Bureau are partnering to offer Genesee County sophomores, juniors and seniors the Genesee County Youth Lead Program. 

We are currently recruiting our fifth class and are looking for 15 youth representing our nine high schools who would like to improve their leadership skills and expand their knowledge of the community and resources therein. Genesee Youth Lead is designed to help our youth assess their strengths, weaknesses and potential for personal and intellectual growth. We provide the opportunity for students to develop their leadership skills by being a part of a team, the community and by hands-on learning within the county. This fall students were able to take field trips, speak directly with government officials, and so much more.

The Youth Lead Program will take place at Genesee Community College & Genesee County Youth Bureau beginning March 18th at GCC with a Meet & Greet and then class to follow. The class sessions are 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Saturdays; March 18, 25 and April 1, 8, 22, 29, and May 6 and 13. The program will cost $55 and the students will earn one college credit through Genesee Community College. The areas of the community to be explored during the fall program are Government & Law Enforcement, Health & Human Services, and Agriculture. If there is an economic hardship please contact the Genesee County Youth Bureau. 

Applications for the program will only be accepted until Feb. 24th and can be found at:http://www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/youthbureau/. Please contact Chelsea at the Genesee County Youth Bureau with questions at (585)344-3960 or at [email protected].

June 1, 2016 - 6:47pm

Say a middle-school student habitually sasses a teacher and repeatedly winds up in the vice principal's office. Or maybe a teen is often truant from school or acts out in a way that might get him or her in trouble with the law, perhaps already has.

In many cases, there's a voluntary way to make amends and square things with authorities. It's the Genesee County Youth Court -- an alternative for young people who face disciplinary action through school or law enforcement. The goal is to decrease behavior problems and increase "citizenship skills."

On Tuesday afternoon, the local legislature's Human Service Committee was given an agency review of the Youth Bureau by Director Jocelyn Sikorski, which includes the Youth Court.

She told them that referrals are up. There were 32 last year and there have been 17 to date this year.

With a success rate of 90 percent or better, there are cost savings to the county because this reduces the caseload in the juvenile justice system, Sikorski said.

Eligible young people are referred by either their school or law enforcement. Parents and guardians are involved throughout and everything is kept confidential. Sentencing is individualized and there's no permanent record in the youth’s file or record.

Youths who want resolution through the Youth Court, fill out an application. If approved, the defendant appears before a court of peers.

A "prosecutor" representing school and community interests argues their side and makes a sentencing recommendation. The defense acts on behalf of the teen in question and also makes a sentencing recommendation. A clerk-bailiff maintains court records, administers the oath, and makes sure the court runs smoothly. A panel of three teen judges listen to both sides of the issue and recommends a sentence based on what is heard in the courtroom.

This process gives the wrongdoer a chance to learn from mistakes through early intervention and positive peer pressure.

Those who voluntarily serve in the Youth Court learn about public speaking, group decision making and the justice system.

It began in 2008 and costs about $16,000 a year to run. Funding is provided by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), a component within the U.S. Department of Justice. Chelsea Dillon is the coordinator; she works collaboratively with the Probation Department, law enforcement agencies, the Dept. of Social Services and schools in the county.

Another program administered by the county Youth Bureau is the federally funded "Youth Opportunity Program," an AmeriCorps offshoot, now in its second year here.

The fledgling program enrolls at-risk and formerly incarcerated youth in direct service projects sponsored by AmeriCorps.

"We had a lot of learning in our office," Sikorsky said of the inaugural year. "We're getting better. There are challenges with the youth being served."

Steps are being put in place to prevent problems encountered initially. But through no fault of the county, future funding is not assured for its continuance here or elsewhere.

The federally funded AmeriCorps Program was also reviewed for the committee by Sikorski. It focuses on creating jobs and providing paths to opportunity for young people about to enter the workforce. Through AmeriCorps, participants learn valuable work skills, earn money for education and develop an appreciation for citizenship by working in community service helping others.

Going forward, a concern with the AmeriCorps program is the higher minimum wage of $9.70 an hour in 2017.

"We still will be competitive with that," Sikorski said, because with their education award and their bi-weekly stipend, an AmeriCorps participant makes $9.85 an hour.

"2018...(we) believe that we will struggle to recruit AmeriCorps members with the raise in the state minimum wage, with the money we have to give our AmeriCorps members. Our hands are tied based on that program."

The grant cycle is every 15 months, and Genesee County next cycle runs from October through the end of 2017, when the minimum wage is set to become $9.70 an hour. Each cycle requires a competitive grant application process to secure funds.

"The minimum wage I think will hit us in 2018," Sikorski said.

Committee Chair Rochelle Stein asked if the minimum wage requirement applies to AmeriCorps at all.

"If this is a government program, though, isn't that exempt?" Stein asked. "Because I thought that governments were exempt from the minimum wage increases. I could be wrong."

Sikorski replied: "My understanding is we're exempt (as county government) from the fact that we have to raise the wages to coincide with the raise in the minimum wage. Correct."

County Manager Jay Gsell said "But that may not apply to this program because it's not necessarily with public entities. That's one of those things that you'll have to look at. We'll have to look into that."

Gsell said the minimum wage hike requirements and any future budget impacts on various programs are still being determined.

Regardless of wages, all AmeriCorps members gain an education benefit. A 900-hour volunteer would get, for example, a $2,650 education award upon completion. A parent or grandparent can allocate it to their child or grandchild; you can use it to pay for your own tuition; and, student loans incurred during AmeriCorps participation can be deferred, and no interest will accrue on them.

In another Youth Bureau initiative, Sikorski happily reported that the Kiwanis Club provided $200 to buy "Halloween kits" last October for 90 boys and girls who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to dress up at school or go trick-or-treating in costumes with friends and family. A total of 40 went to children in one of the city's two elementary schools, and 50 went to underprivileged kids in the other.

"Oh, my gosh, it was so much fun!" she said.

The goal is to make this amusing seasonal holiday outreach travel -- next on one side of the county, then the other, then back to the city.

Stein asked about the back-to-school supplies and was told annually, they are able to help between 30 and 50 children with supplies.

Following Sikorski's presentation, the committee agreed to give permission for the Youth Bureau to apply for a grant from the U.S. Tennis Association to fund a summer tennis program. If granted, it would provide $1,900 to pay for a tennis instructor, mileage and some equipment.

May 17, 2016 - 1:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Youth Bureau, sports, news, basketball.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Youth Bureau sponsored a citywide 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament on Friday, May 13. Ten teams competed in the double elimination tournament. Teams represented were Youth, Batavia Police, Batavia City Hall and Genesee County Dept. of Social Services.

The Batavia Youth Bureau is planning another tournament later this summer to continue this community event that creates interaction between youth and public servants.

Below are photos (submitted, IDs from left) of the first-, second- and third-place teams and the Youth Team playing the Batavia Police/City Hall Team.

First Place: Malachi Chenault, Trenton MaGraw, Dakota Irvin and Jordan Thomas.

Second Place: Luqman Baity, Ally Luckenbach and Alex Nesbeth.

Third Place: Anthony Garcia, Juan Claudio, Nashiem Harris (not pictured -- Jeff Redband).

(Names not provided.)

May 7, 2014 - 11:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Youth Bureau, Americorps.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today announced that the Genesee County Youth Bureau has received nearly $130,000 in AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).  

This grant will put 34 AmeriCorps members on the ground to work with the Youth Bureau and several nonprofit and government agencies to provide fitness, nutrition and environmental education programs in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. The Genesee County Youth Bureau has been operating an AmeriCorps program since 2004.

“Congratulations go out to the Genesee County Youth Bureau for receiving this competitive grant and continuing to provide children and teens in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties with critical programs,” Congressman Collins said. “I also want to thank AmeriCorps members for answering the call to serve. AmeriCorps members are an indispensable resource for nonprofits, communities, and the individuals they serve. Citizen service is an essential part of the solutions to many of the challenges our communities face.”

The current year’s AmeriCorps grant cycle was highly competitive. The 2014 competition prioritized investments in economic opportunity, education, veterans and military families, and disaster services.

AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 members in intensive service annually to serve through nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations at 25,000 locations across the country. These members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the AmeriCorps program. Since 1994, more than 830,000 Americans have provided more than 1 billion hours of service addressing critical challenges from poverty and hunger to disasters and the school dropout crisis.

February 3, 2014 - 10:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Youth Bureau.

Press release:

The Genesee County & Batavia City Youth boards are extending an extra effort to let the community know just how outstanding our local citizens can be. A Youth Recognition Banquet will be held on Thursday, April 3. This event is an opportunity to thank select individuals for their service to the community.

Awards are given in three separate categories. The Youth Recognition Awards are presented to those youth who have performed an outstanding service for their community, and/or have assumed an extraordinary role within their families. The Adult Youth Worker Award is given to a Genesee County youth-serving professional, in a paid position, whose work surpasses normal expectations. The Adult Volunteer Recognition Award is presented to an adult who serves the youth of Genesee County in a volunteer setting.

A community-wide mailing with nomination forms and instructions was conducted. Forms can also be accessed by visiting the Genesee County Web site www.co.genesee.ny.us and clicking on “Youth Bureau. All nominations are due by Feb. 24.

July 31, 2013 - 9:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Youth Bureau.

Press release:

The Genesee County AmeriCorps Program, in collaboration with the Genesee County and Batavia youth bureaus, is planning the annual Safe Summer Children’s Carnival from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1 at Falleti’s Ice Arena, 22 Evans St. in Batavia. It's open to the public.

One dollar buys a ticket to play 10 games, and children can win “funny money” to redeem for prizes.

Entertainment by “Charlie and Checkers” is scheduled from 10:30-11:30 a.m. and the games will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will also be several community agency booths.  Visiting these booths enters a child to win an iPod Shuffle.

For more information on the carnival please contact Chelsea at the Genesee County Youth Bureau at 344-3960.

March 26, 2013 - 10:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Youth Bureau, community garden.

With the approval Monday of the 2013-14 city budget comes some support for a community garden at the Youth Bureau off State Street.

The plan for this year is to create 25 raised garden beds of 4x4 to 4x12 feet for community members to rent and use to grow fruits and vegetables.

Jocelyn Sikorski, youth bureau director (photo), gave a short presentation to the City Council on the project near the end of Monday's meeting.

"We're really optimistic that we will fill this community garden this year and sell out all 25 beds," Sikorski said.

The project was actually started in the Spring of 2011 by former Youth Bureau director Deb Kerr-Rosenbeck after she realized that many of the youth served by the agency weren't eating enough fruits and vegetables at home.

With one raised bed, Kerr-Rosenbeck, with the help of the children at the bureau, planted a garden and vegetables. Some of the children had never eaten certain kinds of produce before; what was grown became part of the meals served by the agency.

When Leadership Genesee caught wind of the project, some members teamed up to help build four more raised beds in the Spring of 2012.

This year, the plan is to transform the long-unused wading pond behind the Youth Bureau building into a spot for 25 raised beds.

City residents will be able to rent a bed for $15 to $35 for the season, Sikorski said.

"Our long-term goal is to have more community gardens around the city," Sikorski said.

The city portion of the funding for the project is less than $1,000, with donations coming from members of the community.

Constructions of the beds will be part of the Day of Caring on May 8.

April 5, 2012 - 10:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Youth Bureau.

The Genesee County Youth Bureau -- which also runs Batavia's program -- has a new director, Jocelyn Sikorski.

Sikorski, who has worked for the bureau for 13 years, most recently as program coordinator, was tops in a field of four candidates.

The Ways and Means Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend to the full legislature approval of her appointment, and to approve her change of status into the management tier of the county's salary structure.

Sikorski will earn $44,209 in her new position.

The Batavia High School graduate is married, lives in Genesee County, and is the mother of a 6-year-old and a 9-month-old. She also attended Genesee Community College and has a bachelor's degree, which she completed while working for the county full time.

Earlier this year, previous Director Deb Kerr-Rosenbeck retired.

Sikorski said she isn't planning any big changes for the youth bureau.

"I think a lot of what we’ve been able to bring into the county over the past couple of years with federal and state grants have really expanded our services," Sikorski said. "I just look to continue doing that, either through those avenues or other avenues that may come along."

November 2, 2010 - 9:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Youth Bureau.

The kids will be alright, according to Debbie Kerr-Rosenbeck, youth bureau director for Genesee County.

If a proposed shared-services agreement is approved by both the city and county elected bodies, Kerr-Rosenbeck doesn't anticipate any loss of programs currently offered to the youngsters of Batavia.

"If anything, I think (services) will expand and increase, not be less," Kerr-Rosenbeck said after a meeting of the county's Human Services Committee, where she briefed legislators on the proposal.

Under the terms of the agreement, Kerr-Rosenbeck would become director of the city's program as well as maintain her position with the county.

The city hopes to save at least $15,000 by eliminating its director position -- which with salary and benefits cost the city more than $80,000 per year -- and adding a coordinator position.

As part of the agreement, the city would reimburse the county $21,000, covering part of Kerr-Rosenbeck's current salary (but not increasing her salary) and five hours of clerical time per week.

"What the children see will not change significantly," Kerr-Rosenbeck said. "They may see some new faces when staffing is short. I'll put my staff there to help out evenings and weekends, but they won't see any changes in the programs at all."

Kerr-Rosenbeck said she's already started working on the transition and anticipates putting in more than the weekly eight-hours called for in the agreement in the beginning to help ensure the transition goes smoothly.

Both the Legislature and the City Council are expected to vote on the proposed shared-services agreement in December, so Kerr-Rosenbeck can officially take over the city's program in January.

The city has been without a youth director since the previous director retired about six months ago.

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