City of Poughkeepsie Names First Ever Director of Youth Services
Big news for the City of Poughkeepsie! City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison has announced the creation of the Director of Youth Services position, and how it will be key to the city's overall strategy to create a Children's Cabinet to bring together school districts, government agencies, child-serving community organizations and other local stakeholders to improve the lives of youth and families. Rolison announced that Karen Williams has been named the first Director of Youth Services.
The mayor said creating and filling this position now is important, as Dutchess County continues work to convert the former YMCA site on Montgomery Street in Poughkeepsie into a new Youth Opportunities Union (The YOU).
Karen Williams Named First Director of Youth Services for the City of Poughkeepsie
In her new role, Williams will be tasked with the analysis, development, promotion and coordination of programs related to the needs of local youth. Other responsibilities include representing the municipality in matter concerning their protection and welfare.
So who is Karen Williams? Well, she is a human services and public administration professional with particular expertise in youth services. She is a former program supervisor for Hudson Valley Community services, supervisor of the Dutchess One Stop: Level Up Dutchess Program, Case Manager for the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce Workforce Connections and for Dutchess County Healthy Families.
With the help of the Poughkeepsie City School District and Superintendent Dr. Eric Rosser, the City of Poughkeepsie is creating the Poughkeepsie Children's Cabinet. The Cabinet was formed in recognition of the fact that children spend 80% of their time out of the classroom and in the broader community.
The mayor also pointed to the tremendous growth in the city's Youth Activities & Opportunities Grant program. Created in 2018 with $140,000 in seed money, the initiative has grown each year. The mayor identifying nearly $500,000 in funds for this program in his 2023 budget proposal. The youth grant supports clubs, leagues, and other activities and educational initiatives.
Williams will oversee the operations and management of the youth grant awards, in addition to seeking supplemental funding from other sources to help sustain and grow the program. Williams will also create and maintain a centralized directory of all youth services available in the area in such a way that the public can easily access information regarding available programs for eligible city youth.
Williams will be serving as liaison between the City of Poughkeepsie, the City of Poughkeepsie School District, Dutchess County and external stakeholders and nonprofit organizations.