While the state attorney general has approved the sale of the property to Hira Educational Services of North America, Asif Kunwar, the founder of the Islamic-based company, has finally shed some light on the plans for the former Youth Development Center in New Castle.
Following a press release issued by Kunwar, who apologized for the delay and stated that the business has taken the past month off for Ramadan, many unanswered questions have finally been answered.
The release states that the plans for the property is to host a youth intervention center for troubled youth as a detention center alternative.
“We aim to reopen this facility as a Youth Intervention Center instead of a Youth Detention Center. It will serve as an alternative and diversion from detention center model. We will achieve this goal utilizing models like JDAI (Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative) and curriculum based on STEM,” the release states.
The intervention will require a higher level of family involvement, more community service activates, and therapy.
Although it remains unclear who the specific target demographic would be, Kunwar says he believes the project will have an over-all positive impact on the community and will create numerous jobs.
The project is expected to be financed through public and private grant sources ranging from local, state and federal government to foundations of tech-giants like Microsoft, Google and Verizon.
State Rep. Aaron Bernstine is not satisfied with the information provided in the press release.
“The statement issued by Hira provides no real answers to the questions that I have on the behalf of the 10th District. I continue to be perplexed by their unwillingness to return my calls so I can understand why they colluded in the bidding process, why their tax exempt status was revoked, and why addresses attributed to their places of business are empty parking lots,” he said. “I will continue to pursue every avenue possible to uncover information related to this facility and will continue to call them daily until they pick up their phone.”
The press release:
Hira Educational Services of North America (HESNA) plans to use Youth Development Center New Castle, PA for Youth Development purpose. We aim to reopen this facility as Youth Intervention Center instead of Youth Detention Center. It will serve as an alternative and diversion from detention center model. We will achieve this goal utilizing models like JDAI (Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative) and curriculum based on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). The intervention model requires higher level of family involvement, more community service activities as well as one-to-one therapy. JDAI model has been credited for a successful reduction in youth detention centers population in counties nationwide who chose to implement it. Also STEM based curriculum has been proven more engaging while preparing kids for future high paying jobs as Scientist, Technologists, Engineers and Mathematicians.
HESNA will utilize JDAI model and will also provide STEM focused education to troubled youth. This STEM based curriculum will engage these youth in project based learning. These youth will be trained in the field of science and technology resulting in a future workforce that attracts high paying jobs. This will also help in breaking the poverty cycle as most of these youth come from low income and poor neighborhoods. Furthermore, this project of HESNA will create numerous jobs for local workforce, impacting positively on local economy. The project will be financed through public and private grants sources ranging from local, state and federal government to foundations of Tech giants e.g. Microsoft, Google, Verizon etc. These tech giants has business interest in reducing shortage of skills and talent available to hire in the field of technology.
HESNA’s founder Asif Kunwar holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Computer Science as well as various Industry and Academics Certificates in Business, Computer Science and Information Systems. He has also completed the coursework of MS in Business and Information Systems from New Jersey Institute of Technology. He himself has over a decade experience as an educator and belongs to family of educators. His consulting work with Islamic schools as well as non-Islamic schools involves improving technology infrastructure for successful technology integration in all subjects ranging from language arts, science, math and social studies. He plans to pursue doctoral studies in the area of Technology Enhanced Education.
Hira Educational Services of North America is an IRS approved 501 (c) 3 public charity.