Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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Amsterdam volunteers offer safe haven

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Albany/HV: Amsterdam volunteers offer safe haven
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A volunteer group in Amsterdam that formed in the aftermath of two student deaths wants to make sure history doesn't repeat itself. As YNN's Maria Valvanis explains, the Community Task Force is offering a new place to keep kids safe.

AMSTERDAM, N.Y. -- Greater Amsterdam School District Superintendent, Thomas Perillo, said, "The main idea that came out of last summer tragedy is maybe there's not enough for students to do in the community."

The Community Task Force wants to make sure the killings of Paul Damphier, 16, and Jonathan DeJesus, 13, are never forgotten.

"What we're trying to do is offer some programs here in this building, to help our youth, and have a place for them to go," said Perillo.

"I'm volunteering with the kids, exercising with them, showing them some things they can do to occupy their time," said Task Force member, John Sumpter.

Sumpter has been spending his free time with Bacon students for the past couple of months.
The group will now expand on his efforts, by offering a variety of programs to everyone in the district.

Amsterdam Recreation Director, Rob Spagnola, said, "We're going to make this so it's their permanent home, for basketball and a lot of other youth sports and youth activities."

And the group wants your input, they've put surveys on the district website, so that you can go on, and tell them exactly what types of activities you'd be interested in.

Spagnola said, "We want to get people involved, we want people to come here, we want people to utilize what we are trying to do."

And that's to leave an everlasting message.

"I hope they take away using idle time to be positive instead of negative. Learning how to work their mind body and soul," said Sumpter.

Activities will begin to be offered early next month.

For more information you can visit the district's website at ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP