September 23rd, 2013
Children & Youth Fund Latest Information
The Community Foundation’s Children and Youth Field of Interest Fund was created to promote the healthy development of children and youth in ways that complement existing services. The Fund recognizes that the lives of our children and youth can be affected by many factors, i.e. family dynamics, poverty, health issues, etc. As such the Fund takes a holistic approach in its efforts to support programs that help children and youth. The Fund will actively seek out input from the broad community and professionals working with children and youth to ensure that the Fund’s efforts are targeted to actual needs. The Children and Youth Field of Interest Fund understands the need to collaborate and coordinate with other organizations in the community in order to leverage resources and have the greatest impact.
As the Fund grows, it will invite proposals that respond to its priorities. In recent years, the Children and Youth Fund has reviewed proposals submitted by youth-serving agencies to the Community Foundation and its other funds that align with the Fund’s mission.
The following examples illustrate some of the populations, services, and approaches that the Children and Youth Field of Interest Fund has supported.
Extending opportunities to under-served youth
• Supporting Green Guerrillas Youth Media Project Low-income youth of color are often marginalized, more likely to be involved in the juvenile justice system, and unsure about whether and how to challenge the conditions that adversely affect their lives and communities. Green Guerrillas Youth Media Tech Collective is an innovative, grassroots job-training program targeted to low-income youth of color sponsored by S.T.A.M.P. Inc., which challenges pollution, criminalization, exploitation, and incarceration by encouraging self-respect, empowerment, leadership, and self-determination among young people, adults, and families most affected by criminal justice and environmental policies which disregard individual needs, erode community assets, and undermine planet security.
The Green Guerilla project values teen’s creative insights and capacities to transform their reality as leaders and participants for change. Green Guerrillas study documentary and narrative film making; make their own media from posters to movies; do outreach at community events; advocate for equitable living and learning environments; get their “hands dirty” learning about renewable energy; and, analyze important social, political, economic and environmental issues which affect their lives as low-income youth of color.
In 2010, the Children and Youth Fund partially supported their empowerment project which employed 8 youth on a part-time basis to learn about the issues that affect their community and to use media to educate themselves and the wider community about the environment and social justice.
• Supporting LGBT Youth Group
Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school in the past year and nearly two-thirds felt unsafe. Relative to their urban and suburban peers, rural gay students are more likely to be verbally harassed in school, have rumors or lies spread about them, feel unsafe, know of no LGBT -friendly school staff members, and lack access to LGBT resources. LGBT teens report higher levels of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use and are at higher risk of depression and suicide than others.
Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes offers a LGBT Youth Group. The primary function of this group is to provide a safe, non-judgmental space for our mostly-rural region’s LGBT and allied youth to congregate without fear of harassment. The group is designed to increase participant engagement, increase access to resources and sense of belonging and to encourage positive healthy lifestyle choices.
In 2011, the Children and Youth Fund provided funds to expand outreach, resources, and to increase the frequency of the group meetings from every other week to weekly for at least 12 youth from 5 different schools.
Improving access for youth from rural communities
• Caroline’s Great Race: Next Generation of Map Masters and Explorers Middle school students growing up in the Town of Caroline are often dependent on transportation from parents or programs to be able to participate in social and cultural activities outside their community. Those whose families cannot transport them are often socially isolated and unable to engage in opportunities that help them broaden their experiences and widen their horizons. Even though public transportation is now available on a limited basis, young people and their families often lack the knowledge, confidence, and experience to use the schedules and buses to visit new destinations in Tompkins County.
The Caroline Youth Program, sponsored by the Caroline Youth Commission and operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, designed a fun and innovative way to help young people learn to use public transit offered by TCAT buses to explore their community. The program provided free bus passes to a group of middle school youth who met regularly with staff to select destinations, research bus schedules, and make plans for monthly outings to place such as Museum of the Earth, TC3 and the Sciencenter.
In the Fall of 2011, the Children and Youth Fund supported this program as an innovative approach to helping 12-20 rural young people gain the experience and confidence to use the public transportation system to connect with the wealth of resources available in Tompkins County. They would also be encouraged to share their knowledge with their friends and family in ways that help foster and value the use of public transportation.
Creating a bigger impact by leveraging resources
• Partnering with the Women’s Fund to Restore Cervical Cancer Vaccinations to Uninsured Girls and women who receive Gardasil vaccinations can be protected from HPV and cervical cancer. For years, Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes (PPSFL) was able to provide vaccines very affordably to their patients, including those lacking health insurance because there was an adequate supply of low-cost vaccine provided by federal, state, and local governments. As governments cut back on costs, the cost of the vaccine increased and the number of uninsured girls who could afford it dropped dramatically, further jeopardizing the health status of low income young women.
In 2012, the Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation invited proposals and PPSFL requested funds to be able to partially restore affordable vaccinations to low income girls and young women. The Women’s Fund was able to partially fund the program and they shared the proposal with the Children and Youth Fund, which agreed to help fund the agency’s request. By partnering, two Community Foundation funds were able to leverage their resources to enable14 uninsured young women to receive an affordable three-part vaccination that will promote wellness and prevent cervical cancer.
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