Our goal is to improve people’s lives in measurable ways while ensuring an inclusive change process that responds to the priorities of its community members. Community Youth Mapping (CYM) is mobilizes youth as catalysts and contributors to positive community change. In teams of 5, supervised by young adults of college age, youth canvass their neighborhoods to identify resources and opportunities that exist in their community. They plot conditions and land uses on city lot and blocks in order to inform government and nonprofit community development activities, and also cultivate skills of observation, narration, and interviewing in order to layer qualitative data and subjective analysis over the hard data plotted on their maps.
Coordinated by CCC with the support of the Mayor’s Office, the Newark Youth One Stop Career Center, and Youth Empowerment & Employment Success (YE²S) Center, Newark CYM is a model for integrating positive youth development with the genuine community development activities of key institutions throughout the City.
Last summer, youth from the ages of 14-21 spent this past summer giving to their community by observing conditions in targeted neighborhoods throughout the city and giving input on how and where they would like to see change happen. In just 8 weeks, the Youth Mappers charted the condition of 10,700 lots. The following maps plot the locations of abandoned and vacant properties in three target neighborhoods, which the City of Newark and others can use to plan neighborhood improvements. See the Youth Mappers in action in this short video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyhmpkYztiQ).
This summer, the youth will map neighborhood assets and also conduct youth-to-youth surveys and videos to capture the unique and essential viewpoints of youth for the purpose of informing a number of community development activities. Our staff will analyze and integrate the data that the youth contribute into our Yearlong Citywide Needs Assessment that will inform our programmatic priorities for the next three years.
Like last year, we will measure the program's progress towards its joint goals, that:
1. Youth will develop skills and knowledge and desire to become engaged citizens & community leaders, and
2. Youth will gather information from the city of Newark that will assess issues that are most critical to the people of the city & that will produce a focus of critical needs that will provide guidance for Newark’s existing institutions - to fuel a cycle of safety, health and opportunity.
For Newark, the time is now. The Center for Collaborative Change plays the critical role in Newark’s revitalization of connecting ideas, people and resources to make Newark thrive. Specifically, we identify priority issues through a participatory process, pinpoint best practices we can adopt locally to address priority issues, and build those solutions with local assets by brokering cross-sector collaborations.
Youth are the majority in our city, and the investments they make in themselves and their community are critical to Newark’s ability to halt the cycle of poverty, disinvestment and violence and replace it with one of opportunity, investment, and community wellbeing. CYM includes youth in essential community development now, while also building their interest and capacity to be our future civic leaders.