Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tip line extends helping hand to youth

  A youth behavior tip line is transitioning from Buffalo Police Headquarters to the Westside Community Services this summer.
   Jonathan Lindner, who is the coalition’s coordinator, said the tip line, sponsored by the West Side Youth Development Coalition, is making a major metamorphosis in July.
   The tip line was initially created to provide an outlet for citizens to alert authorities about underage drinking on the West Side, but it’s transitioning into a more focused project for area youths, Lindner said.
   “The main goal is to provide an opportunity for students and youth to actually talk about issues, problems and concerns,” Lindner said. “ There isn’t really anything out there for that and what it does is provide an anonymous way for them to get their message across and it allows for us to really focus on other issues besides alcohol.”
   The tip line is primarily directed to youths in the 14213 vicinity and could extend to 14222, and as of now, the project will have one primary phone number and five phone lines.
   “The tip line is currently being funded by the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant allocated by the Department of Justice,” Linder said.  “The West Side Youth Coalition recently applied for a larger grant with more financial benefits called the Drug-Free Communities Grant which would be able to provide long term support.”
   According to the West Side Youth Coalition’s website, they’re hoping to not only improve the youth’s behavior on the West Side, but the community as a whole.
 By Elaundress Ballard and Christie Jok