Visiting the Peekskill Youth Bureau with County Executive Rob Astorino
At the May 21st of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL), Legislator John Testa (R-Peekskill) was joined by his colleagues on the BOL in voting to enter into an inter-municipal agreement (IMA) with the City of Peekskill to provide critical funding to the city’s “Advancing Leadership for Teens” program.
Legislator Testa who is a full time educator and former Mayor of Peekskill said, “I am thrilled to be able to help bring this funding to the youth of Peekskill. I have dedicated my career to educating kids and preparing them for their future educational or career endeavors. The Advancing Leadership for Teens program and the City of Peekskill Youth Bureau is a wonderful partnership that was created not just for kids but with those kid’s direct input.” Legislator Testa concluded, “While we have seen a lot of our community programs cut or even eliminated in municipalities across the county I am very gratified that we were able to arrive at this agreement between the county and the City of Peekskill. This is an investment in our greatest resource in Peekskill and Westchester, our kids, and it will pay great dividends far beyond the terms of the agreement.”
Under the terms of the IMA, the program would receive $135,000 from Westchester County with the City of Peekskill providing $72,693. The funding carries the program through 2014 and will serve approximately 180 kids.
The “Advancing Leadership for Teens” program was designed to address the needs of youth in Peekskill focusing on objectives like developing resumes and job seeking. Another primary focus will be college exploration and readiness. The program also aims to prevent health risk behaviors in kids by providing health education, community and cultural service projects, youth activism, academic and education services and dropout prevention. One of the most basic yet important aspects of the program is that it provides a constructive and safe atmosphere for youth outside of school.
About John G. Testa
Former District 1 County Legislator, John G. Testa is served five terms at the Westchester County Board of Legislators, spending the last 3 terms as BOL Minority Leader.
John G. Testa is a lifelong resident of Peekskill who first entered elected public service as a member of the Peekskill Common Council in 1998 and then served three terms as Mayor. He previously served on the Conservation and Parks Advisory Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. John became an elected official eager to improve the City in which his family has lived for more than a century and quickly earned a reputation as a strong, independent, nonpartisan voice for fiscal responsibility.
John received a BS degree in Technology from SUNY Oswego, where his academic achievements gained him induction into Epsilon Pi Tau, the International Honorary Fraternity of Technology. He earned his MS degree in Technology from the City College of New York. He began his teaching career in 1980 at Peekskill High School, his alma mater, as an instructor in Technology and Social Studies, retiring in 2013 after 33 years teaching.
John has been a leader in support for the Arts Community in Westchester. He presided over the construction of the Peekskill Art Lofts, the establishment of the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, and the complete restoration of the Paramount Center for the Arts, originally a 1930’s movie house and helped bring critical funding to many Westchester programs. Legislator Testa received the “Advancing the Arts in Westchester Award” by ArtsWestchester.
John has a been a leader on environmental issues for two decades and has a long record of initiatives he has supported and spearheaded. His active involvement in developing and promoting environmentally friendly policies began as mayor and continued throughout his time as Westchester County Legislator. His efforts consistently earned John the endorsement of the NY League of Conservation Voters.
John’s most recognizable accomplishment has been his promotion and preservation of local history and historic landmarks, bringing an unprecedented focus on the region’s rich history, and its legacy of historic Victorian architecture. His roots in historical preservation stem from his experience as a Revolutionary War re-enactor and member of The Brigade of the American Revolution for 50 years.
John was instrumental in securing the preservation of the Lincoln Depot, now the Lincoln Depot Museum, where he now serves as President. The museum was recognized in 2015 as one of The Best Museums in Westchester. He also secured the preservation of historic Fort Hill as parkland, a 40-acre parcel that was originally a Revolutionary War encampment site. Under his leadership, the United States Dept. of the Interior declared Peekskill a “Preserve America Community.”
John was able to establish a record number of National Register designations of local structures, including the first Downtown and Neighborhood Historic Districts and supported the preservation of the historic Miller House in North White Plains. In 2017 John was named a “Champion of History” by the Lincoln Society in Peekskill.
John and his wife of 37 years, Nancy, live in Peekskill and have two adult children, John, Jr. (fiancé Courtney Kelly) and Katy (husband Mike Mearon). John and Nancy recently welcomed the arrival of their first grandchild, Lacey Mae, in 2019.