With negative stories seeming to dominate the news, we felt there was a place on our Opinion pages to spotlight some of the positive things that people are doing to improve the quality of life in our community. So we've created High Notes to recognize those individuals and groups. We hope they can serve as an inspiration to others and become part of the daily conversation. If you have suggestions for High Notes, please email them to me at email@example.com. - Mark Mahoney
In Schenectady, police officers get together with older teens to play basketball in the new Community and Police Basketball League. The purpose of the league is to encourage a positive relationship between city police and the community. Among the participants in the kick-off game was Police Chief Brian Kilcullen, serving as a referee, who said he hopes the program shows police officers as real people and that they develop friendships with the people they serve. Rosa Rivera, head of the Hamilton Hill Come Unity Alliance, started the seven-team league with the Schenectady YMCA and hopes to get more officers to join in as it goes along.
In Saratoga Springs, the Lions Club service organization has created a program that helps visually impaired kids gain confidence, experience the outdoors, build friendships and get physically active. The program, "Camp Abilities Saratoga Springs," kicked off earlier this month at Skidmore College. About 20 kids participated in the inaugural one-week program. Counselors are volunteers.
In Schenectady, volunteers participate in a program to help clean up graffiti in the city. The program, "Give Graffiti the Brush," was started by Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo in cooperation with the city of Schenectady, the Center for Juvenile Justice and Home Depot, with funding by the Schenectady IDA. Every other weekend through October, teams go all over the city and paint over graffiti. City probation officers supervise some of the youths, who have volunteered in the Hamilton Hill, Mont Pleasant, Woodlawn, the Stockade, Bellevue and Goose Hill areas of the city.