Five Community-based Organizations Awarded Youth Service Improvement Grants

The William T. Grant Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded five community-based organizations in New York City $25,000 grants to improve the quality of their youth programs.

The Foundation’s Youth Service Improvement Grants program supports medium-sized organizations that have demonstrated success but have also identified an area that if improved would enhance the quality of services.

The newest grantees are:

MCCNY Charities, Inc.
“Trauma-Informed Care at Sylvia’s Place”

This grant will support the creation of a trauma-informed training curriculum for MCCNY staff at Sylvia’s Place. MCCNY wants to improve services at Sylvia’s Place, a 90-day emergency shelter for LGBTQI runaway and homeless youth. Sylvia’s Place, which provides drop-in services including case management, computer usage, medical services, and self-defense training, has experienced an increased incidence of youth experiencing mental health crises. Program staff, however, are often not prepared to address these types of challenges, including situations where emergency services are called for participants’ suicidal or aggressive behaviors. MCCNY proposes to create a training curriculum that would develop in staff greater capacity for trauma-informed care. The organization will engage a social worker to develop the curriculum, train staff, and run weekly group counseling sessions for resident youth, in addition to designing a system to document staff use of the training and surveys for youth to assess the effectiveness of the group therapy.

Young Audiences New York
“LinkNYC and College Awareness Curriculum”

This grant will support the creation of a college awareness curriculum to bolster Young Audiences New York’s (YANY) career program for young people in underserved neighborhoods. Young Audiences wants to improve LinkNYC, its after-school career awareness program for youth in grades 10–12 that focuses on digital media. LinkNYC participants receive 80 hours of hands-on digital media training from teaching artists, visits to local media companies, and small-group mentoring opportunities with industry professionals. Despite success in exposing students to potential careers in digital media, LinkNYC does not currently include a component to support participants in applying to and enrolling in college. Young Audiences wants to add a college awareness curriculum to its LinkNYC programming, which would enable students to participate in 12 college awareness workshops focusing on options after high school, paths to and benefits of college, how to identify strengths and interests, and support for applying for admission and financial aid. The organization will partner with the Leadership Program to implement the improvement plan, including developing the curriculum, running the workshops, and training the teaching artists.

“A Scaffolded Growth Mindset Curriculum and Staff Training”

This grant will support the development of a growth-mindset curriculum for Masa’s participants, who are Mexican and Latino immigrant youth in the South Bronx. Masa wants to improve its after-school program, MAP, which uses a growth mindset approach to providing homework help and academic tutoring to students in grades K–7. As Masa’s current programming is not differentiated for students’ age and knowledge, the organization has found that its efforts do not tap into the full potential of the approach to develop in participants greater confidence in their ability to learn and perform at or above expectations. To address this, Masa proposes to develop a scaffolded, grade-level specific curriculum for building a growth mindset in participants, as well as to train staff and volunteers to teach the new curriculum.

Maysles Institute
“Community Producers Program Caseworker”

This grant will support training to help staff better respond to participants’ personal crises and mental health needs. Maysles Institute wants to improve its Community Producers Program (CPP), which serves 16–24 year old youth in Harlem and the South Bronx who have been previously involved in the justice system. CPP offers free arts education through storytelling, film production, and community engagement, and also provides participants with resume writing and job search assistance. Maysles does not currently have an adequate social service component to support its participants, many of whom have experienced significant trauma, including physical abuse, homelessness, and parental drug abuse. Because of this, staff have not been able to teach the entire CPP curriculum, as instructors are often compelled to spend program time addressing students’ personal needs rather than teaching and leading lessons. Maysles proposes to hire an on-site MSW caseworker to provide direct, continuous service to its participants and to train frontline staff to respond to student crises as they arise.

The Center for Arts Education
“Learning to Teach for Success”

This grant will support the establishment of professional development workshops for teaching artists who work in inclusive classrooms.
The Center for Arts Education (CAE) wants to improve its in-school and after-school programs, which provide dance, music, theater, and digital media classes to New York City public-school students in grades K–12. CAE teaching artists have begun to work in inclusive classrooms, yet they do not have the specialized skills required to work with English Language Learners and students who require Individualized Education Plans. CAE will partner with external experts in bilingual education and on learning disabilities to train its teaching artists, perform site observations in inclusive classrooms, and provide feedback to CAE and the teaching artists. The consultants will also act as mentors to CAE staff and senior teaching artists, and provide them with site observation training to ensure that the improvement is sustainable in the future.

Learn more about Youth Services Improvement Grants.