Youth are the majority in our city, and the investments they make in themselves and their community are critical to Newark’s ability to thrive.
CYM was originally established in Newark by Deputy Mayor for Neighborhood Engagement, Margarita Muñiz, in 2009. The Center assumed leadership and coordination of CYM in 2011 and delivered the program
in partnership with the Newark Youth One-Stop Career Center and the Youth Education and Employment Success (YE2S) Center.
Over the course of eight weeks during the summer of 2011, 30 Newark youths, ages 14-17, were divided into teams and supervised by five college-aged students. The summer started with a week of training and an overview of the neighborhood development efforts that CYM would inform. Youth mappers were introduced to the concept of community assets and asset mapping with structured guidance on what to look for when canvassing the targeted areas. The curriculum was specifically designed for teens and conducted in a facilitated workshop format. The teams visited each of the city’s wards and collected concrete, lot-level data on the needs and assets they identified in each neighborhood.
The information they collected on 10,700 lots was compiled, analyzed, and shared with:
1) the City of Newark’s Master Plan and
2) the Strong Healthy Communities Initiative.
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. In 2011, we found that through their participation in CYM, youth mappers gained a better understanding of neighborhood challenges and productive ways to address them. They were further able to develop skills in critical thinking, internet-based research, data analysis, and presentation. All participants completed an exit survey in which the results indicate:
64% of the participants increased their interest in the well-being of their neighborhood;
86% of the participants improved their communication skills;
90% have increased their knowledge of healthy food access.
Over 10,000 lots were observed by the youth this past summer. The three schools targeted within SCHI are Thirteenth Ave School, Avon Ave, and Sussex Ave School. Mappers covered a 2-3 mile radius from the target schools. 16% of what they identified can be used for affordable housing, open space, parks, and gardens.
CYM 2012 will employ a pre- and post-program survey to measure changes in the following:
Sense of community involvement and voice, including an understanding of issues facing Newark and productive ways to address these issues;
Extent of knowledge and attitudes about civil service careers and asset based mapping;
Level of self-confidence and leadership;
Level of engagement in constructive curriculum-based activities.
If we reach our tipping goal of $2500, we can hire a staff of (3) to supervise the youth for six weeks to develop the curriculum, operate the program through this summer, and 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.
If we reach our total funding goal of $7500, we can also provide T-shirts, clip boards, video cameras, other IT needs (wireless for laptops) to input data collected, snacks and water for youth, and bus fare as needed.