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Group drafts 32-page safety 'blueprint'

Six months after 150 residents of Brentwood, Central Islip and North Bay Shore met to discuss local problems, the group plans to release a document outlining their concerns and recommendations to better serve and protect their neighborhoods.

The 32-page document, filled with broad mandates, includes suggestions such as creating safe spaces for young people to interact, increasing the number of locally hired teachers, and implementing more incentives for business expansion.

Saturday, the group plans to distribute 300 copies of the document to policy-makers, elected officials, and community groups at the former Academy of St. Joseph in Brentwood, said Ana Torres, a lead organizer. Newsday obtained a copy of the document Thursday.

"This is a community uniting," said Torres, executive director of Shepherd's Gate, which runs before- and after-school programs in Brentwood. "This community is not sleeping. We are awake and aware of the problems and want to be part of the solutions."

The county executive, Islip Town supervisor and town board members and candidates have been invited.

Torres said she hopes officials implement some of the recommendations and engage the community by doing such things as creating advisory committees.

On May 14, participants met at St. Joseph's and broke into 16 groups, whose conversations were recorded by students from Stony Brook University. The university's School of Health, Technology and Management documented the discussions.

Participants in the May summit included students, parents, clergy and law enforcement. Most, according to the document, were concerned with violence and recommended expanding youth sports programs and school counseling services and increasing police presence. Others said they wanted more teachers from their communities hired and more bilingual services for students and parents.

"We want to see results," said Ray Mayo, a summit participant and board member of Brentwood Association of Concerned Citizens. "We are looking to have a blueprint for this community to follow to help get rid of some of the problems we have."

Organizers hope to hold follow-up meetings to update the document and check on local progress, Torres said.


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