Friday, January 22, 2016

New Initiatives: Punto Space

By Bo Twiggs


New Initiatives for a New Year
As one of the nation’s first problem-solving courts, Midtown Community Court has innovation baked into its DNA. And as 2016 begins, we are excited to celebrate several new programs that will be taking shape over the coming months. These new initiatives are the culmination of months or years of planning by the Center for Court Innovation and our partners, and they represent some of the foremost thinking on ways to create a more effective and humane justice system. 

All this week we’ve been highlighting new programs at Midtown. On this day of the New Initiative Week, we want to highlight our UPNEXT program and a new community partnership with Punto Space. 

Punto Space
The Midtown Community Court’s UPNEXT program works with non-custodial fathers to help them move forward with employment and their families. Through the program, men grow as individuals and providers.  A key component in helping these men successfully reenter the workforce is providing them with transitional work opportunities. This on-the-job training allows individuals to put the lessons learned in the UPNEXT classroom into practice. Recently, Punto Space, an event space and gallery joined the ranks of those working with the program to provide fathers with a chance to gain skills while earning money.

The addition of Punto Space to the roster of UPNEXT fellowship sites represents a significant step forward for the program. UPNEXT gains the opportunity to place participants in an environment where they can play a part in making events happen in the heart of the Fashion District. Fellows have an opportunity to get hands-on experience as the space is transformed from an elegant loft-like space to a vibrant atmosphere hosting nightly gatherings of New York’s fashion and arts communities. Upon completion of their fellowship opportunity, fathers will find themselves positioned to seek employment in events, culinary and custodial sectors.

Partnerships like the one that Punto Space has entered into with UPNEXT facilitate the Midtown Community Court’s mission of connecting with those in the communities surrounding the court. Further, the partnership allows fathers from outside of the Midtown area to connect with the opportunities, culture and energy of the neighborhood. Relationships like the one with Punto Space ensure that MCC and its community partners bring a new meaning to ‘justice’, not just in Midtown, but throughout the city.