Here in New York City, cable networks provide free advertising space for state and city agencies, and for non-profit organizations to make public announcements. For example, St. Augustine’s Gospel Choir will be having a concert on someday, somewhere. The Brooklyn Historical Society is having it’s Fall Fiesta. I seldom if ever watch these channels – and certainly not long enough to find something I’d be truly interested in. Still, I am wondering if folks with needs for some of the critical services can effectively be reached using this medium.
The HOPE Program offers free job prep and training in downtown Brooklyn. There is free job readiness training at ABC and XYZ location. A free sign language workshop, free legal and ESL services for immigrants, a free 6 week program to earn a Certificate as a cable television installer, a high school choice workshop for parents to navigate the Labyrinth masquerading as the Department of Education; free media education classes; job training and placement for youth ages 17-21; financial management workshops, free adult literacy classes – it goes on and on and on…
And yet, there is a disconnect between folks who say they need help, folks who say they seek help and folks who say they offer help. I certainly know that not everyone does as they say they do. I also believe that folks who need help are acutely vulnerable in our society. They are wise to be wary of things offered for free because we often get what we pay for. Still, there must be some willing to take risks if things tomorrow are to differ in any appreciable way from yesterday.
Perhaps the march of a thousand miles begins with the first phone call to secure free services.