New Youth Services Improvement Grants to Strengthen New York City Nonprofits

Seven New York City community-based organizations have been awarded $25,000 grants to improve the quality of their youth programs.

Our Youth Services Improvement Grants program supports organizations that have demonstrated success but have also identified an area that if improved would enhance the quality of services. In addition to funding, grantees receive capacity-building consulting from the Youth Development Institute to support the implementation of projects and programs.

The new grantees are:

ScriptEd Workforce Skills Development Curriculum

ScriptEd intends to improve its paid summer internship program, which trains students from under-resourced schools in coding and web development, and then gives them access to technology careers. Interns have the necessary technical skills, but lack the basic professional and business skills required for placement at job sites. ScriptEd will hire a consultant to develop a curriculum based on best practices to train the interns in the skills and attitudes required to be a success in the workplace. The consultant will also train ScriptEd’s staff to implement the curriculum in the future.

Red Hook Initiative
Employment and Education Services for High-Need Young Adults in Red Hook

Red Hook Initiative (RHI) will create a formal structure to better engage disconnected youth. RHI proposes to hire a case manager to provide individual attention to these participants in order to help address the underlying issues that cause them to drop out of the program. Some of the issues include lack of day care, health/mental health care, and housing. RHI will also design a pre-employment workforce readiness initiative that will focus on young adults with low educational attainment and little work experience.

Fiver Children’s Foundation
Fiver Middle School Curriculum Improvement

Fiver Children’s Foundation provides a continuum of youth development services to economically disadvantaged children over a ten-year time period. Fiver wants to improve the middle-school component of Camp Fiver, its summer residential program that focuses on character building, health, environmental education, literacy, athletics, and high school preparation. Fiver lacks an organized, formal middle-school curriculum, which has led to unprepared staff and inconsistent program delivery. Fiver will designate key staff members to create a new curriculum for each program area. Staff preparation and training will also be included in the improvement.

Added Value and Herban Solutions
Growing Green Leadership at Added Value Farms

Added Value and Herban Solutions wants to improve its teen apprenticeship program, The Youth Empowerment Program (YEP), where teens of color learn how to run an urban farm and farmers market in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The program teaches participants workplace-related skills, such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and time management. Participants are tasked with managing and leading their peers and adult volunteers, yet they lack confidence in their abilities as leaders. Added Value will hire a youth educator to develop a leadership curriculum that will focus on critical thinking, identity, peer-to-peer dynamics, and social justice. In addition, field trips will be planned that will allow the apprentices time to bond with each other, set goals, offer feedback and reflect on the past growing season.

Legal Outreach
Law and Justice Institute Recruitment Project

Legal Outreach would like to improve its recruitment of young men of color into its core programs, the Law and Justice Institute (LJI) and College Bound. LJI places higher-achieving ninth-graders in a professional setting, exposes them to various legal professions, and teaches them about the criminal justice system. LJI is the gateway for College Bound, a four-year preparatory program. The number of Black and Latino young men registered in LJI and College Bound is about one third that of similar young women. Legal Outreach will enhance its outreach to middle-school males by incorporating the culturally, socially, and personally relevant issue of police and youth interactions into its presentations. They will also establish a pre-LJI program called Sports, Business, and Law Clinic, which will expose young men to non-athlete professional career opportunities in sports.

Teachers and Writers Collaborative
Curricular Framework for Creative Writing Programs

Teachers and Writers Collaborative will develop standardized curricula for Teachers and Writers Collaborative’s (T&W) writing programs, as well as training for its writers. T&W writers have teaching experience and publication credits, and they partner with classroom teachers to design writing programs for general, ELL, special needs, and gifted/talented students. However, T&W does not have a standard curriculum or training model for its writers, which leads to unequal program quality across schools and also makes it difficult to assess program outcomes. Teachers and Writers Collaborative proposes to hire a consultant to help develop a new curricular framework that will have a consistent, sequential teaching path that leads to positive and measurable student outcomes.

Town Hall Foundation
Teach the Teaching Artists

Town Hall wants to improve its Educational Outreach Program, which provides arts education to New York City public school students. Town Hall staff work with school administrators to develop a curriculum that is tailored to the needs of the specific site, and the resulting program is delivered by a teaching artist in collaboration with the classroom teacher. Half of Town Hall’s teaching artists have no experience teaching in New York City public schools, which makes it difficult for them to engage with staff at partner sites, hampers their ability to craft lessons that align with standards, and leads to challenges with classroom management. Town Hall will hire consultants to develop and run workshops for teaching artists, which will focus on classroom management skills, alignment of lesson plans to New York State Common Core standards, and communication with school staff.