CHCF’s Youth Development team partners with schools to promote youth leadership, provide academic enrichment through extended learning time, create safe spaces for mentoring and counseling, foster positive peer relationships and connections with adult role models, encourage healthy lifestyle choices, and link with the school day to complement and enhance academic priorities.
CHCF’s Young Men’s Leadership Project
The culminating project for the YLMP in 2014 focused on the negative impact of zero-tolerance discipline policies at the school they attend; most recently this was implemented at PROGRESS HS in Brooklyn. The young men developed a formal report explaining the history of zero tolerance strategies nationally and in New York City, highlighting the adverse effects of these policies on young people who are disproportionately Black and Latino. The students discussed and analyzed their findings and presented twelve recommendations to change these policies and make their school a more inclusive and supportive environment. The young men made a formal PowerPoint presentation to the Principal, Assistant Principals, and Deans summarizing their work and offering their recommendations. As a result of their efforts, the Principal pledged to change his discipline protocol for the upcoming school year, saying the school will no longer suspend students for minor infractions, such as wearing hats, hoodies, or headphones in the school building. This shift in policy represented a significant win for the young men, who through their leadership and advocacy efforts were able to make a positive change in their school community that would go on to impact the entire student body. In addition to having an immediate impact on school discipline policies, the young men of the YMLP were also asked to serve as leaders on a student transitional committee and student council to continue their efforts with the support of fellow students and staff.
Young Women’s Advocacy Project
At the end of the Project, which was most recently implemented in 2014, the participants improved knowledge of local government and community organizing principles; improved knowledge about the processes of civic engagement; comfort level with articulating their voices verbally and on paper; gained a sense of self-sufficiency and empowerment; and an appreciation for collective action and support. The young women learned fundamental leadership and advocacy skills, teambuilding, consensus building, principles of community organizing, function of local government and the constructs for promoting change within that context around an issue they feel passionate about. The young women chose to focus on comprehensive sexual health education and the Living For the Young Family Through Education (LYFE) centers in the city that serve student parents by providing child care services in the school. The participants met with City Councilmember Antonio Reynoso who represents PROGRESS HS’s district; Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito; attended Advocacy Days where they met with City Councilmember Margaret Chin, staff of City Councilmember Daniel Dromm, Helen Rosenthal, and Jumaane Williams; the young women were invited to testify at the City Council Executive Budget Hearing.
Provides Academic Enrichment
Our After-School Programs seamlessly extend the school day—that means more time to study, create, work, and learn. We strive to help students be more successful and put them on a long-term path to stay in school. By incorporating technology and hands-on learning, providing homework help, and giving students more opportunities to be creative, CHCF enriches their education and makes learning fun.
Promotes Healthy Minds and Bodies
Our programs give students and their families the tools to improve themselves both physically and mentally. Whether our staff are training youth to become peer educators, helping children learn math with new tablet technologies, or teaching parents how to cook healthier meals and stay fit, our YD programming helps families stay strong and healthy.
Partners with Families
CHCF does not just work with students—all of our youth development programs integrate educational opportunities that involve the entire family. We give families information about adolescent sexual health and pregnancy prevention, and teach parents how to talk to their children about these difficult topics; keep them informed about Common Core State Standards implementation and how best to support their children academically; and we help them become effective education advocates for their children. Most importantly, we help families communicate positively, so that they stay cohesive and strong.