On Thursday, October 13, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted the Bronx Youth Corps first-ever “Day of Service,” joining dozens of borough students to unveil a new mural and beautify Railroad Park in Melrose.

“You are never too young to contribute to your neighborhood and to your community,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “We need more young people like the Bronx Youth Corps student volunteers, students who want to be engaged in the world around them and who want to make a difference in the lives of others. I commend these students for creating such a program. They say that you lead by example, and these wonderful students are setting a great example for their peers to become more active within their community.”

The Bronx Youth Corps is newly-launched program that integrates community service with classroom instruction and reflection to enhance student learning. Through the Bronx Youth Corps, the students will learn to work as a group, learn about the importance of responsibility for the community, and gain the skills to make positive changes in The Bronx and become future leaders.

Students from two Bronx schools, DreamYard Prep and M.S. 390, participated in the event, in partnership with volunteers from DreamYard Art Center. They planted new flowers at the site. Borough President Diaz first announced the creation of the Bronx Youth Corps in his “State of the Borough” address in February.

“Railroad Park on East 161st Street has long been perceived as an unsafe and neglected part of the neighborhood, so this mural project will allow us to use the arts as a powerful tool for activating underutilized space and engaging local residents in improving their community,” said Davon Russell, Executive Vice President of the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco). “With these murals, we hope to encourage conversation and opportunities for creative expression, all while celebrating the assets and diversity of this South Bronx neighborhood. Our partnership with NYC Parks and DreamYard has allowed WHEDco to bring attention to a park with much untapped potential. It’s been an exciting project for us and, we hope, for the Melrose community.”

“DreamYard is thrilled to collaborate with the Bronx Borough President on the launch of the Bronx Youth Corps.  Today we are celebrating a collaboration with WHEDco, NYCHA and the Parks Department on reinvigorating Railroad Park- with students from the DreamYard Art Center’s Bronx Arts Collective, MS 390 and the DreamYard Prep High School.  The mural and the new bulbs planted today stand as a symbol for the ways in which the arts and social justice can build pathways to equity and opportunity for all Bronx youth and families.” Said Tim Lord Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director of DreamYard.