We’re pleased to announce the recipients of our spring 2014 Youth Service Improvement Grants, which are awarded to community-based organizations in New York City. Each grantee will receive $25,000 to improve the quality of their youth programs. These grantees were selected from a pool of 42 applications received in fall 2013.
Our Youth Services Improvement Grants program supports medium-sized organizations that have already had some success, but need funding to enhance their services. All grantees also receive consulting support from the Youth Development Institute to aid implementation of their projects.
Ensemble Program Curriculum Improvement
Education Through Music (ETM) partners with New York City schools to provide music education to inner-city students. ETM wants to create curriculum, training materials, and assessment measures for its ensemble program, which offers band and string instrument instruction to students in schools where ETM already has an established music program. ETM plans to hire senior ensemble music teachers to work with program staff to create lesson plans, grade-level benchmarks, a resource manual, and skills assessment. Program staff will then train ensemble teachers to use the new curriculum and materials.
Science Curriculum Improvement Project
Operation Exodus Inner City promotes personal growth, high educational achievement, and leadership skills to underserved youth, with an emphasis on the Latino communities of Washington Heights, Inwood, and the South Bronx. Operation Exodus wants to improve its After-School Program, which offers homework help, tutoring, and recreational activities to 350 kids in three locations. To increase students’ exposure to STEM and interactive science learning, Exodus will purchase the KidZScience product, to encourage more active engagement in scientific inquiry. Exodus will also train staff on curriculum implementation.
Survivors to Leaders
Day One New York works to end dating abuse and domestic violence by providing education, counseling, legal, and social services to New York City youth, 24 years of age or younger. The number of Day One’s clients who need access to public services such as housing and food assistance has increased significantly, but Day One does not have an efficient mechanism in place to help its participants navigate the complicated processes of city agencies. To enhance the social services component of its program, Day One wants to train members of its Youth Voices Network—survivors of abuse and violence who have successfully participated in Day One’s programs—to be peer advocates for current clients. These advocates who already have experience dealing with City agencies will accompany clients to the various City agencies when they are in the process of obtaining public benefits.
Helping Children Heal from Trauma: Creative Interventions in Play Therapy
New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC) wants to improve its Trauma Recovery Program, which provides mental health services to help NYC children recover from experiences of physical/sexual abuse, family violence, traumatic grief, and serious parental neglect. Services are provided at NYC public schools, social service agencies, and at NYSPCC’s offices. NYSPCC uses cognitive-behavioral techniques during individual counseling sessions to teach children how to manage their emotions and impulses. NYSPCC does not have many clinicians who have been trained in Play Therapy, which is especially effective for children who were traumatized at an early, pre-verbal age. NYSPCC plans to hire the Starbright Training Institute to provide all staff with a two-day intensive Play Therapy training. NYSPCC will record trauma recovery counseling sessions using the new training and Starbright will use the recordings to provide feedback during 10 bi-monthly case consultations.
Peter Cicchino Youth Project
The Peter Cicchino Youth Project (PCYP) provides legal representation and advocacy for 200 homeless and street-involved young people, 25 years of age and younger. PCYP operates free legal clinics at drop-in centers, after-school programs, and homeless shelters. Clients receive assistance with shelter and public benefits, discrimination cases, name changes, applications for legal immigration status, and the criminal justice system. PCYP wants to improve the social services component of its program. Many of PCYP’s undocumented, monolingual, homeless LGBTQQ clients are not receiving case management services through its established clinic sites. PCYP wants to hire a permanent, part-time case manager to help this segment of its caseload access social services, navigate the criminal justice system, and to receive trauma-related services. The new bilingual case manager will focus on homeless LGBTQQ clients who live in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens.
Training and Professional Development of Teaching and Performing Artists for Music Education Programs
Midori & Friends provides a range of instrument and vocal music instruction to New York City children and teens in 35 public schools and community agencies. Midori evaluated its program and found that there were significant variations in quality across school programs. A consultant to help Midori develop an arts curricula that will align its music instruction with best practices in music education and with the Common Core standards. The consultant will also develop and lead training for Midori’s corps of teaching and performing artists to support the new curricula.