BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Two students from the Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) program at Medgar Evers College are interning at a community center in central Brooklyn this school year as part of a multidisciplinary effort to increase student involvement in social justice initiatives.

That effort, called the Community Justice Program, combines aspects of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s renowned reentry and diversion initiatives with programs offered by Medgar Evers College and creates additional opportunities for students interested in law and social justice.

This semester seniors Nicole Franklin and Peta-ann Bigby are

continuing the work they began last fall assisting students in

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes’ Back on Track program at the CPCA Community Enrichment Center in Brownsville, where they plan and implement activities designed to steer at-risk youth away from criminal activity.

Nicole and Peta-ann work with Field Instructor Joann Robinson, a licensed social worker in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, to facilitate mental health counseling sessions that offer conflict resolution skills, methods on building self-esteem and proper ways to argue a point, as well as acting as a support for families of alcoholics and those affected by gang violence.

“At the Back on Track site I have the opportunity to bring my

education to the field and use it in a practical way,” Peta-Ann Bigby said. “Working alongside the program director, who is also a social worker, I get to use what I have learned in the classroom to improve students’ lives.”

“The learning experience at Back on Track has been very enlightening and has reinforced my commitment to pursuing a career in social work,” Nicole Franklin said. “I want to particularly thank my field instructor for helping me to connect theory learned in the classroom to practical applications.”

“The College is proud of these two Social Work students’ service to at-risk youth in our underserved neighborhoods,” said Medgar Evers College President Dr. William L. Pollard, an experienced social worker himself, who teaches an undergraduate course in social work at the College. “Their efforts are exemplary of our institution’s commitment to social justice, and our Community Justice Program will continue to make these important opportunities available through our ongoing collaboration with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.”

“We are preparing the next generation of social workers at a time when there are so many challenges – high unemployment, domestic violence, substance abuse, to name a few,” said Dr. Eda Harris-Hastick, director of the BSSW program. “We are so delighted to have this partnership that offers us opportunities to lend our expertise where needed.”

BSSW Field Education Coordinator Elaine Reid added: “Since the Back on Track field placement offers such positive opportunities for our BSSW students to connect theories learned in the classroom with practical real-life experiences, we hope to continue and expand this placement in the future.”

Field Instructor Joann Robinson said: “Medgar Evers College students are a great asset to this program, and their hard work and dedication are instrumental to its success.”

Also part of the Community Justice Program, Medgar Evers College students interested in social justice initiatives may apply to intern in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, where they learn what it takes to become an attorney from some of the borough’s top prosecutors. In the last year four MEC students – Nathalie Duton, Landry Sen, Lissette Ortiz and Omalola Marsh – have completed KCDA internships.