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Citywide Youth Coalition Strives to Change Their Community One Kid at a Time

By Elisha Neubauer

Forty years ago, New Haven, Connecticut faced a serious shortage of summer programs for the local youth. But that all changed in 1976, when the Citywide Youth Coalition was founded. A network of over 500 professionals, organizations, and youth-serving organizations in the Greater New Haven area, the Coalition is working together to build a courageous community in which all youth can succeed.

"Citywide Youth Coalition serves as a central force for collaboration and partnership within the New Haven youth sector, which increases the scale of impact for community transformation efforts," states Addys Castillo. The not for profit organization has a belief that the youth of the community plays a direct part in the future of the neighborhood and surrounding areas.

"The CWYC believes that the future of our community is predicated on the ability of young people to see a vision for their future and lead the way into tomorrow," says Castillo. "As such, the CWYC and its member organizations are committed to improving conditions in our community so that the youth are poised to soar. By supporting and developing out youth we are investing in the future of our community."

The Coalition has been hosting monthly meetings since 1986. These meetings are open to the general public, everyone is welcome, and are held on the third Wednesday of each month, except for July and August. They offer regular speakers and an opportunity to network with a youth-oriented learning community.

"All of our work is done in partnership with youth and adults in the community," says Castillo. "New ideas and energy are always welcome." For those looking for another way to get connected with the Coalition, there is an email-based community in which everyone has access to post information, share events, or ask questions that relate to youth issues or youth work.

Although the Coalition has been active since 1976, it wasn't incorporated until 1992. In 1994, the group became a registered not for profit corporation. Since incorporating, it has grown exponentially, adding Youth Development Training and Resource Center, expanding the capacity of youth-serving organizations with training opportunities, networking and advocacy, and focusing efforts specifically on building youth success, including youth voice and youth leadership opportunities. They have no plans to stop any time soon, either.

"CWYC's goal is to foster conversations that lead to the inclusion of youth as leaders and decision makers in our community," says Castillo. "To move in this direction our short term goal is to train youth in the art of advocacy, social change, and community activism in order to prepare them to advocate for the changes they wish to see in the world."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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