Monique has lived in the Bronx since she was four years old. She has witnessed firsthand the toll addiction and violence take on her community. She has also personally experienced their disproportionate impact on youth and other vulnerable groups. Monique struggled with drug addiction at a young age before discovering faith and dedicating herself to public service. Since then, Monique has spent the last 30 years helping her community, including social work helping children and teens escape the vicious cycles of addiction and violence.
According to a 2019 survey of high school risk behavior by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 20 percent of Bronx youth currently use marijuana, while 6-8 percent have used methamphetamines, heroin, or cocaine. Additionally, 10 percent of Bronx youth have been injured or threatened with a weapon on school property, and a further 10 percent have skipped school because they felt unsafe at school or while traveling between school and home.
Youth programming can combat these unacceptable rates of substance abuse and violence. Youth programming is known to strengthen family bonds, reduce drug use, and decrease violence. For example, research suggests vocational training helps young people successfully transition from school to work after graduation, lowering participation in violent crime.
Monique recognizes that addiction and violence pose a significant threat to Bronx youth. She also recognizes the proven benefits of youth programming. Monique will utilize her social work experience to improve youth programming. She will promote vocational training, after-school programs, and other shields against addiction and violence. Using her long-running relationships with the NYPD, community and faith leaders, and those in City Hall, she will work to improve existing programs and bring new opportunities to Bronx schools and youth centers.