Andrew Glover Youth Program 2014

It’s always an enjoyable day photographing the kids of AGYP. The portraits are my way of honoring the work these teens are doing to stay out of the courts and jail. I am impressed by their spirit and hope they can accomplish their life goals and dreams. Over the past years this annual shoot has allowed me to search the Lower East Side for new locations near the AGYP center. The pictures were taken down the block at La Plaza Cultural, a community garden on 9th Street and Ave C (Loisaida Avenue). This piece of New York was carved out of a vacant block by a Latino group called Charas in 1976. The community fought hard over the ensuing years to keep the developers away. La Plaza was preserved in 2002 in a legal settlement with the city that saved many gardens. This little oasis in the Lower East Side was an appropriate setting to photograph the kids since AGYP is an oasis in juvenile justice system. Offering the courts a choice instead of detention, AGYP is there, counseling, training, educating and assisting in employment opportunities for youth from the Lower East Side and East Harlem. It costs about $210,000 a year to put a kid in a New York City juvenile detention center for a year, and only 20% remain crime-free when they get out. It costs only $3,400 a year to keep a kid in the Andrew Glover Youth Program, and more than 90% of program graduates never commit another crime.