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Volume 5 January 2006

Youth Employment and Leadership

By Rosana Garcia


ach Friday afternoon, teenagers trickle into the office for their weekly staff meeting. There are smiles and jokes, laughter and chatter. The meeting opens with an Intern leading a new game, then the Interns and adult Team Educators discuss their “Roses and Thorns” for the week, talking about their successes and challenges. After a brief introduction to new curriculum, the staff break off in pairs to prepare for the next week’s program. Friday staff meetings are only one component of our youth employment program. Solar Youth hires youth yearround from high schools throughout New Haven. Each undergoes a rigorous hiring process that includes an application, interview and references.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Heather Gilbert Chair

Shakila McKnight Youth Co-Chair

Maureen McCarthy Treasurer

Javaughn Harris Youth Co-Treasurer

Rebecca Gratz Secretary

Jasmine Webb Youth Co-Secretary

Chris Cavallaro Peter Davis Charles Nixon Joanne Sciulli Kate Walton

In 2005, Solar Youth trained and hired 15 high school students as leaders. This was made possible through support from Empower New Haven. Since our founding, we have employed over fifty youth. During an intensive staff training, Interns learn about ecology, youth development, team-building, behavior management, as well as Solar Youth’s hands-on curricula including songs, games and challenges. Our youth employment posi ti ons teach job skills essential for future success including leadership, responsibility, and accountability. Through the opportunities they gain, and the supports provided by caring adult supervisors, they build essential competencies including positive self -worth, a sense of membership and belonging, commu-

William at NST in 2001

nication skills and more. Youth must maintain a passing grade in all classes to emphasize education as a priority. We require youth to open bank accounts for d i r e ct d e p o si t of paychecks, to learn money management. Summer Last summer we hired 3 Senior Interns (ages 1516) and 3 Junior Interns Staff, Interns and YAG at fall 2005 retreat in Branford, CT (14). All Junior Interns often for the first time. “The most chal(Luquaia, LeShea and Angelica) were lenging part of the summer” explained past Solar Youth participants. This was Jaleesa, “was transitioning from the Senior Intern Jaleesa Freeman’s 6th youth role to the staff role.” summer with us! Both groups gained experience developing and implementing lesson plans, executing daily responsibilities and culIntern Xavier with a tivating healthy Westville Manor youth peer relationships. Youth participants were excited to learn about new subjects from other youth just a few years their senior. Much of the youth’s learning comes from being in positions of leadership,

William is a freshman at Common Ground High School, as well as a resident of Westville Manor. He was one of our first Stewards in 2001, and was with us for three seasons. He joined us again in the Fall of 2005 as an Intern for our Neighborhood Steward Teams. We now watch him lead the same kinds of activities he used to participate in!

At school, he also volunteers at the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, and at his former elementary school, reads to children and helps them with their homework. “Will Will” has a

William mentoring Steward

Staff Training Retreat This Fall, adult staff, Steward Team Interns and our Youth Advisory Group attended our first overnight training retreat. It was a great success, particularly in terms of the bonding that occurred among the youth, and between youth and adults. We hope to repeat this for future training, pending funding of course. Youth employment is an integral part of our programming. It gives older youth experience working, provides role models for younger children, and gives our participants opportunities to continue their leadership development. According to Sharnice Brooks, working for Solar Youth “gave me an opportunity to have responsibility and also learn at the same time.” Xavier Miller adds that you get to “learn about others and learn more about yourself.”


learn about our 2005 accomplishments and how

Kids Explore! Kids Do! Kids Teach!


Brandi Collander TEAM EDUCATOR (FALL)

It’s official—we turned 5!! This newsletter gives a taste of our year’s activities and accomplishments, made possible by our generous supporters. However, we continue to struggle to stay alive financially. “Seed” funds got us off the ground. We are now seeking sources of support we can count on year after year. This is one of our main objectives in 2006—to strategize ways to become financially sustainable. This work will happen as we continue to provide unique opportunities for New Haven’s youth, and demonstrate the power of positive youth development. About 11 percent of our income last year, or $30,000, came from F.O.S.Y.— ―Friends of Solar Youth‖ - individuals who made our work one of their giving priorities. This income is an essential part of our financial survival. Therefore, whether you are an individual, parent, youth or business, a past, current or future F.O.S.Y., we encourage you to join us in the new year. Thank you in advance for your support.

Sincerely, Joanne Sciulli Executive Director


2005 Youth Staff Javaughn Harris YAG COORDINATOR INTERNS Sharnice Brooks Angelica Bryant Lakisha Catlett Jaleesa Freeman Tamira Jones Tiffany McCrea Luquaia Melton Xavier Miller Andrea Moore Candace Morrison Jody Ann Purcell LeShea Sparks Adrienne Toney William Winfrey

Solar Youth, Inc. provides opportunities for young people to develop a positive sense of self, and a connection and commitment to others through programs that incorporate environmental exploration, leadership and community service.

Solar Youth Goes to

Eating Sushi in Tokyo


Javaughn and my first plane ride. We were very excited but nervous at the same time. It lasted 13 long hours, but it was all worth it.


While in Japan we went to the 2005 World Expo. It was truly amazing. The theme was “Nature’s Wisdom.” It is this

On this trip we learned many things, like that we are very lucky to live where we live. People around the world have environmental problems we do not have, but the problems that hurt children around the world should be important to us. Finally, we learned that before you visit someone else's culture, you should do research and learn about them. We felt disrespectful and out of place because we couldn’t speak the language. WE were the foreigners.

and Kenya.

As I said before, we are very lucky. We can actually say that we have been to Japan because of the wonderful donors who helped us get there! It was truly a once and a lifetime experience!



We met kids from…

this causes illness). One of my favorite was on wind farming because we got to visit it and experience it first hand. They taught us that it is a “safe” energy for the environment, and also that one windmill’s energy can power 100 homes and saves 27 tons of CO2 each year. It was an amazing piece of technology. We asked about the controversy of wind mills killing birds, but they told us it was not a problem. But while we at the windmill site, we found a couple of dead birds on the ground. Hmmm.

On the train to the airport, WE MISSED OUR STOP!! So we found people who spoke English and they helped us get to the airport, but not in time. We had to leave the next day, but got home safe.


of Toyota Science Plaza

Nicole with children at local elementary school


The day we left we headed to JFK, where we said our goodAt the World EXPO in front byes. This was

After the conference was over, we stayed in Japan for one more night (or so we thought). We went exploring, shopping and eating in Tokyo. The hardest part was not being able to communicate with most people.


We headed to the New Haven Public Library to study before our big day — about the language and culture. Chris Cavallaro showed us how to eat the food.

During the conference we asked kids why they came to the Summit. Some said they came to meet new friends. Others said they wanted to learn more about the environment. But overall, kids came to have fun with different people from around the world.


The Summit didn’t just get served to us on a silver platter. First we registered online and wrote an essay. When we heard we were accepted, we got down to business. We wrote a proposal to the International Coalition for Children and the Environment and asked if they could help us fulfill this once and a lifetime opportunity. We also ran Operation Can Angel (where we asked people if they can save their cans so we can turn them in for money), Yale Employee Support Campaign (Javaughn’s mother asked coworkers for donations). Nicole’s mom asked different local businesses for donations. Dominic Gilardi from A1 Toyota, Katherine Owens, Yale Office of New Haven and State Affairs and other individuals made the trip possible!

The conference was packed full. Each day had a theme, for example one day we focused on water and the next on energy. We had trips and workshops based on those themes. Workshops we attended were Children’s Health (where they taught us about how other countries don’t have fresh water to drink like we have and


If Javaughn and I could name this once in a lifetime experience, we would call it JAPAN: LOST IN TRANSLATION, for the simple reason that it was really a different world from where we live. This summer we got to go to Japan for the United Nation’s 2005 Children’s World Summit for the Environment. This conference went from July 26th to 29th, held in Aichi, Japan. The mission was to bring together children from all over the world to discuss important environmental issues and air their own concerns on the state of the environment on both local and global levels.

century’s version of the World Fair. Different countries built pavilions showing unique things from their country. We stayed there for that whole day, but still didn’t get to see everything.

Mutual Housing-George St.



The Mutual Team was a renewed partnership with Mutual Housing’s building at 730 George Street. They were very enthusiastic and spent a lot of time exploring the local community, including West River Memorial Park. Every June, Mutual Housing participates in Neighborhood Works Week, so as their CSAP, the Team made signs to recruit people in the community for a neighborhood clean-up. The Team helped lead smaller groups during the clean-up. For the PEF they created posters and spoke about their neighborhood litter clean-up.

Hill Central 2

The Tuesday/Thursday Team identified the weed infested flower beds around the school as their problem. In total they counted 18 beds, of which they adopted two to de-weed and plant marigolds. The Team also collected rocks to border the beds. Planting flowers at Hill Central

John Martinez School Celentano Music Academy

During one of the TEAM’S walks around the community, they noticed a lot of graffiti; especially on one of the local churches. They decided that this would be the focus of their CSAP, and did a fantastic job painting over the graffiti on the side of the Agape Christian Center on Goffe Street. For Solar Youth’s Public Education (PEF) Forum, they created posters and spoke about their CSAP, field trips, and feeling successful!

Celentano NST painting graffiti for their CSAP

Katherine Brennan School

The TEAM started off small, but grew into a strong, large group that focused a great deal of their time on team building activities. The TEAM focused their C-SAP on removing graffiti from the local park. Unfortunately, the day the C-SAP was to take place, the weather did not cooperate for painting, so they did a park clean-up and painted a few days later. For the Solar Youth’s Public Education Forum, they created posters and speeches about litter, their CSAP and graffiti.

Katherine Brennan School

Martinez NST at Criscuolo Park Clean Up The Martinez Team in Fair Haven focused on water-related issues because of their ideal location on the confluence of the Mill and Quinnipiac Rivers. Through their C-SAP process, the Team had decided to plant flowers in the courtyard of the school. The team decided later that litter at Criscuolo Park was a larger problem, and planned a very successful, last-minute, clean-up there. For the PEF they created posters and speeches about animal classification, creating rules, teamwork, ecosystems, and the C-SAP.

Hill Central Teams

At Hill Central Music Academy, 2 Steward Teams are part of the 21st Century Community Learning Center program that provides after school programs for all grade levels. Both Teams learned about ecological adaptations through a variety of games, working as a group to solve the riddles their Team Educator presented. For the PEF, they created posters and speeches about their C-SAPs

Hill Central 1

The Monday/Wednesday Team identified a messy trail on the side of the school as their problem. They did a clean up and planted annuals and wildflower seeds to beautify it.



The Brennan Team, although small, was strong. Led by grad student Brandi Collander from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, for their CSAP they chose to clean up around their school.

Mutual Housing-George St.

The Mutual Housing Team chose the littering of cigarette butts as their CSAP problem. They ordered cigarette butt receptacles for around their building and made buttons to encourage the use of the receptacles, with slogans like “Butt Free Zone.”

John Martinez School

The Martinez Team realized that there were no recycling bins anywhere in their school. They spoke with school officials and discovered that the school will be starting a recycling program. The youth decided to construct recycling bins from cardboard boxes and placed them outside many of the classrooms in their school to educate people about their schools recycling program.

Hill Central 1

For their CSAP, youth chose to clean a trail that runs close to the school and add a garbage can colorfully painted by the Team to encourage proper disposal of litter. However, due to a situation in the neighborhood, the Team had to stay close to school and come up with a quick alternative. So they did a school yard clean-up and planted flowers. They also made and handed out magnets with Anti-Litter Slogans to their classmates for a Teach project.

On Saturdays, we invited members of all Steward Teams to day-long adventures, to explore new places and meet youth from around the city. Here are some highlights.

Hammonassett State Park

The Bronx Zoo

We found a dead deer on top of West Rock Park

Hill Central 2

Fifteen third graders made up the Hill Central 2 Team. An energetic group that enjoys games and songs, they decided to plant tulip bulbs around their school for their CSAP. The New Haven Land Trust supplies us with the bulbs,

Fall Hike Reptiles with Ranger Joe, WR Nature Center

Garbage Museum In Stratford

The top of West Rock Ridge

and advice, for a successful planting.

Building a New Neighborhood Steward Team: Westville Manor or is an ideal neighborhood for a Solar Youth Team, full of opportunities for youth to Explore, Do and Teach. Due to the unfortunate presence of drugs and violence, there is also a tremendous need for youth programming here.

learned that you can have so much fun in one day.”

We feel confident that the Westville Manor Neighborhood Steward Team will be a strong one, with many motivated and enthusiastic youth willing to learn about their community Although many of the children in the area environment and improve it. have been a part of Solar Youth at some point, to build a Team we need to do outreach. In November staff led a hike through West Rock for Westville Manor youth. It was a At the foot of West Rock Ridge State Park, beautiful autumn day and twelve youth joined Westville Manor houses 151 families and is the in. Intern Xavier Miller is a resident of “the NEW home of the Solar Youth office, as well as Manor” and his community knowledge helped us reach youth. a new NEIGHBORHOOD STEWARD TEAM. Westville Manor youth also joined in our SaturWith West Rock Park, West Rock Nature Center day trips, such as the Garbage Museum. One and Wintergreen Brook nearby, Westville Manyouth commented on his feedback form: “I





his summer, our theme was watersheds! Each week of the

program was dedicated to a particular part of understanding watersheds. Youth learned about the chemistry of water, water cycle, importance of water, and how watersheds shape their lives. Participants went on a total of 19 trips during the 26 days of the program. They identified environmental problems and completed three Community Service Action Projects. At the end of the summer, they taught their families and others about all they had learned and accomplished. This year we had so many applicants that we had to create a waiting list! Overall, we had a GREAT SUMMER!

Week 2: Geography Week! Taking field trips to the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby, CT; Outer Island in Stony Creek, CT and New Haven’s own East Rock Park transformed learning about how water shapes the land into a riveting adventure! Week 3: Flora & Fauna Week! Youth learned about the plants and animals that thrive on CT’s water sources. We loaded up the bus and went on a wet and wild ride during our New Haven Watershed Tour. Youth used maps to understand how water flows from a highpoint to a common body of water. With the New Haven Parks Dept. we canoed Lake Wintergreen. Campers also had the special treat of going to a rare Atlantic Cedar swamp at the Bushy Hill Nature Center in Ivoryton, CT.

Canoeing with NH Parks Dept. on Lake Wintergreen

adventures during the Citywide Steward Program. We ended the summer with butterflies in our stomachs as we explored the ups and downs of Lake Compounce Amusement Park.


Week 1: Introduction Week! We explored the basic concepts of a watershed and youth used their eco-art skills to create a model watershed out of paper mache and recyclable items.

As “Old-ladies of the Watershed,” Interns taught campers the three rivers of New Haven through song.

by Tiffanique Dicks On Thursday, August 4th at 9:30 we packed up two cars and the bus and traveled 2 ½ hours to Great Mountain Forest. Then we hiked up about a mile to a campsite called Yale Camp. When we reached the campsite we had lunch and played games. Then we set up our tents. After we set up we played some more games. Next we searched for firewood and leaned how to make a campfire. When we went camping we learned how to make s’mores. We also learned some cool stuff about how the eye works and why wintergreen lifesavers make sparks in the dark.

Week 4: Human Impact Week! This week focused on the human impact on water sources with trips to the New Haven Waste Water Treatment Plant and the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk. Youth also learned some watery history as we biked down the Farmington Canal.

Special Thanks

to our program partners… Including...Wray Williams at West Rock Nature Center; Southern Connecticut State University for taking us to Outer Island; New Haven Parks Department for the bikes and canoeing; Susan Swenson for her EE expertise; Star Childs and Great Mountain Forest for camping site; Bushy Hill for a day of adventure; Bank of America for use of the 27th floor for our Public Education Forum; and others!



Week 5: Kids Do Week! We started August with youth-led Community Service Action Projects. After their hard work we headed up to Great Mt. Forest for an overnight camping trip (most youth’s first time camping). Week 6: Kids Teach Week! At our Public Education Forum (PEF) campers put on their drama hats and thinking caps to present their

Jackie and youth construct a watershed

ENVIRONMENTAL SHOWCASE AND TALENT SHOW WEST ROCK COMMUNITY CENTER, NEW HAVEN At the West Rock Community Center, Solar Youth presented an Environmental Showcase and Talent Show. Forty elderly and mentally handicapped people elected to watch the showcase. Through three wellorchestrated, youth-led chants, the audience learned about the water cycle and New Haven watersheds. The director of recreation of the center urged the youth to come back again.

For C-SAP’s (Community Service Action Projects), youth are led through a 9-step process:

 Explore Community Identify Problems  Choose a Problem  Research Problem  Brainstorm Solutions  Choose a Solution  Develop an Action Plan  Take Action  Evaluate Results BAKE SALE FOR CHILDREN At Goffe Street Park, a group of youth organized a bake sale to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

BEACH CLEAN UP AT LIGHTHOUSE POINT One of the CSAP groups decided to clean up Lighthouse Point Beach, which is visited by an estimated 200 New Haven beach-goers a day. The youth filled three large garbage bags with litter.

In Parent’s Words…

“My child has more knowledge of the environment and how what we do can affect it. He has made friends and built a little more confidence in himself.” “She never looked forward to going to any camp before. For the last 5 years we have gone to many camps and after a week or less she wanted to drop out. This is the first camp she has wanted to attend.” “My children have learned a lot of knowledge that they could not learn in books.”

To teach family and friends what they learned and accomplished during the program, each youth wrote a short presentation highlighting one day, including the theme of the day, where we went, and what activities we did. Each C-SAP group created wonderful chants and skits about their Community Service Action Projects. The youth greatly enjoyed preparing for and presenting at the Public Education Forum, and the audience benefited from not only hearing about, but seeing what activities the youth participated in this summer.

“How can you measure the confidence, knowledge and love that Solar Youth staff gave our kids for nature and the environment and its processes? As a parent I love the fact that [my son] looks forward to going to the program. On the weekends he anticipates going back on Monday. I can’t praise Solar Youth and the staff enough.”

Hands-on Outdoor Learning Adventhrough hands-on, outdoor, inquiry-based lessons both at New Haven Parks and onsite at their schools.

2004-2005 HOLA SEASON Last year we ran the HOLA program at Barnard Environmental and Micro-Society Magnet Schools with overwhelming success. The curriculum was positively received by teachers and students. TeachLearning about population dynamics by playing “Oh Deer!” at West Rock Nature Center


OLA is Solar Youth’s in-school program is run in collaboration with New Haven Public Schools and New Haven Parks and Recreation. It provides opportunities for students in the 3rd to 5th grade to engage in in-depth explorations, facilitating an understanding of science as it relates to personal, social and global issues. HOLA supports the Connecticut Core Science Curriculum Framework. Youth learn

Classmates learn about the 3 R’s by Recycled Bingo at Coogan Pavilion.

Participants put their skills to the test and water testing at the Mill River in East Rock Park.

ers greatly appreciated the curriculum being synchronized with the New Haven standards. As one 4th grade teacher noted, “the instruction is aligned with my science curriculum,” while a 3rd grade teacher said her students “learned about conservation, and the activities reinforced some of our social studies curriculum dealing with resources.” The students greatly enjoyed getting outside and learning, and after water testing, one student claimed they “felt like real scientists.”

The mission of the YAG is to is “to advise Solar Youth on what kids like to do, act as a youth voice, support the success of Solar Youth, and help youth grow in their attitudes, business life, public speaking, knowledge and skills we will need in the future.”

JAPAN PRESENTATIONS YAG AT THE PEABODY For the 2005 Martin Luther King Environmental Justice Festival at the Peabody Museum, the YAG along with Hanifa Washington, Director of Education, created an environmental justice issues and events timeline. The YAG also created a scavenger hunt on environmental justice for the participants to complete. We gave out prizes to the people that completed the scavenger hunt.

Javaughn and Nicole presented their adventures in Japan (see page 3) to over sixty children and adults this fall. The first presentation took place at the Connecticut Financial Center for family and sponsors. In the video they produced, they captured memorable moments including their first time on a plane, trying to decipher At a Tokyo subway station subway ticket machines, their reaction to Japanese-style beds at their Tokyo hostel and a classic music video of Javaughn, Nicole and Joanne doing their unique rendition of Alicia Keys’ song, “Fallin’.” Javaughn and Nicole also visited Solar Youth’s after-school Steward Teams to teach partici-



This is a poster for a Japanese theatre production of “Driving Miss Daisy” in Toyota City, Japan.

HOLA creates an outdoor classroom

pants about Japan and their trip. They taught some basic Japanese words like konnichiwa, which means hello and goodbye, and arigatou, which means thank you. They plan to present their adventures to other local after school programs in the coming months.

OTHER YAG ACCOMPLISHMENTS  Gave presentations on international cultures and cuisine at spring Youth Summit

 Javaughn participated in New England Grass   

roots Environmental Fund’s grant-making committee in New Hampshire Participated in the Community Dialogue on the Achievement Gap at the New Haven Public Library. Attended Environmental Justice conference in Hartford Started to organize a Food Pantry for the Westville Manor community with Connecticut Food Bank Organized the Solar Youth Holiday Party

2005 YAG Members

Javaughn Harris Christian Reyes Jelisa Burton Nicole Dunnaville Shakila McKnight Jasmine Webb

At Common Ground Farm, there was a Farmer’s Market, farm tours, hay rides, Bike Jamboree, folk music and drumming with Dave “Baba” Coleman. At the West Rock Nature Center, Park Ranger Wray Williams showed off some of the animals in the Reptile and Amphibian House. Children and adults enthusiastically painted pumpkins on the porch of the center and, in the parking lot, tried their hands (and feet) at the mobile climbing wall.

Drumming with Baba


ctober 1, 2005 dawned cool and clear. By mid-day is was warm, sunny, and, at West Rock Ridge State Park, it was a perfect day for a festival.

Climbing Wall

Inspired by youth of the New Haven Environmental Justice Advisory Board of CT-DEP in 1996, the goal of the festival is to highlight the resources of West Rock Park and to provide a fun, educational opportunity for New Haven families.

Drumming for the Rock!

With four sites, the festival had something for everyone. The New Haven Parks Department hosted canoeing on Lake Wintergreen as part of their Canoe New Haven Program.


At the Summit, there was a free cookout of hotdogs and Tofu Pups. The Eco-Fair, with earth-friendly, hands-on fun, had recycled paper making, lessons on how to make fire with a bow drill, and an exhibit about the flora and fauna of West Rock Park. After his stop at Common Ground, “Baba” brought his drumming to the Summit, sharing his instruments and rhythm. The day ended with a performance by “Luggage” the Band. Solar Youth reached out to the communities that surround the Park prior to the event. Solar Youth’s Public Ally, Gamaliel Moses led drum circles in Westville Manor, Brookside, Valley Townhouses and McConaughy Terrace public housing to “drum” up interest in the festival.

olar Youth held its annual Youth Summit during the New Haven Public School spring vacation, from April 19-21. The Youth Advisory Group chose this year’s focus: Health and Nutrition— important elements of youth development.

economic activities and cuisine. Youth also learned about healthy eating and nutrition from Kendell Applewhite, our spring Public Ally, who presented about the food pyramid, and led a game reinforcing food pyramid facts.

Kids Explore!

Day 2 was held at East Rock Park, where participants split into three groups and together completed a cleanup of Rice Field. Later, we hiked up the Great Steps to the summit of East Rock.

Day 1 was held at Common Ground High School where participants learned about different cultures from members of the Y A G , through posters and speeches on Japan, China and Puerto Rico, highlighting cultures, Teaching the Food Pyramid

We wanted everyone to know that free shuttle busses would be running not only between the four sites, but Lake Wintergreen also in and out of their neighborhoods. A special thanks to all our volunteers, who acted as guides, cooks, canoe launchers and more, smiling the entire time! We couldn’t have done it without them!

Pumpkin Painting

Overall, it was a great day, with many people learning about the resources available right in their backyard. If you missed it this year, make sure you join us next year for a West Rockin’ good time! West Rock Park Day Organizing Committee: SOLAR YOUTH NEW HAVEN ECOLOGY PROJECT NEW HAVEN PARKS, RECREATION AND TREES WEST ROCK PARK SENIOR COMMISSIONER ASSOCIATION CT DEPT. of ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION Event Sponsors: West Rock Ridge Park Association Mayor’s Community Art Grant Program Community Foundation Neighborhood Prog. Connecticut Food Bank

Kids Do!

At Common Ground Farm

Kids Teach!

Day 3 of the Summit was again hosted by Common Ground High School, where participants were given a farm tour, highlighting the poultry pen, chicken hatchery and plant nursery with incubator, and the vegetable rows where they tasted home-grown organic produce. Later, participants created educational games to pass on lessons learned through their Solar Youth experiences. At the East Rock Park Clean Up: Look at all the trash!





ohn Forte hails from Georgetown, Guyana. After receiving his degree in environmental studies from the University of Guyana, he moved to New Haven where his mother is getting a PhD from the Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He joined Solar Youth as a Team Educator in the Fall of 2004, but became our full time Student Conservation Association intern in January 2005. As an educator of our Steward Teams and summer program, John brought humor, energy and a unique style to our family. He is known by youth for his crazy renditions of “Fried Chicken Wing” and the Solar Youth chant. In addition, John became our database guru, and assisted Joanne in every aspect with fundraising. We wish you luck in graduate school, and we will miss you John!

Clockwise from top: Stephanie and Mary see a salamander at Lake Wintergreen; Hike up the Great Steps of East Rock; Josiah, LeShea and Jaleesa-summer 2005; Nelson at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

In the Press... Joanne and Nicole accept a Long Island Sound License Plate Fund grant from Governor Jodi Rell, head of CT’s DMV and DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy for summer 2006 program—

CITYCOLOGY(stay tuned!).

Republic Art Solar Youth has traveled around the world, and the world has come to Solar Youth. Our staff include John from Guyana, Hanifa from Texas, Gameliel from Dominica, Rosana from Puerto Rico and Joanne from New Haven (at least for the last 12 years).

Thank You Stephanie!

After three years as Solar Youth’s Program Director, Stephanie Bergman is taking her love of nature and youth back to the wilderness. This summer she left New Haven to become Director of Education at Clearpool Education Center in Carmel, NY. Stephanie was an invaluable part of Solar Youth’s early years. She dedicated her energy, creativity and passion to building our programs. According to youth Maryann Calo, “Stephanie is fun and she has GREAT charisma.” We are in great debt to her, and wish her luck and happiness on the next leg of her journey.



Thanks to a grant from the Connecticut Commission for the Arts, we partnered with rePublic Art as part of the “Color Project.” The goal is “to expand the nature of art in public places through participatory art projects that h e l p b u i l d c o m m u n i t y and public appreciation for the arts as a vehicle for positive social change.” This year’s street banner theme is Diversity. After a lesson on New Haven’s biodiversity, our youth drew designs for 16 banners. The Youth Advisory Group, staff and others then painted the banners—which can currently be seen hung on street poles in Downtown New Haven. Thanks JoAnn Moran for your dedication to youth and art in New Haven!

F.O.S.Y. 2005 to our...






There are many ways YOU can be a ―Friend of Solar Youth‖: 

Donate on - or send a TAX-DEDUCTIBLE check to: Solar Youth, 425 West Rock Avenue, New Haven, CT 06515

Sell things on Ebay? Donate a % through

Extra Car? Donate to SY and take a tax deduction

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By Javaughn Harris, YAG Coordinator

icole Dunnaville has been in Solar Youth since the summer of 2002, as part of the Citywide Steward Program. Since then, she has joined the Youth Advisory Group (YAG). As part of the YAG, she has been to conferences with other youth organizations and trainings on facilitation and leadership. Last summer, she attended the 2005 Children’s World Summit for the Environment in Aichi, Japan. The adult and youth staff at Solar Youth has only good things to say about Nicole. Nicole is a polite, compassionate person to be around. “She’s wicked funny and always takes initiative on projects,” says Joanne Sciulli, Solar Youth’s ED. “We have seen her gain great confidence over the years.” She’s very dependable and helps other people on projects when they need help. The only thing I can say about Nicole is that she is a good friend that you can trust and always count on. She’s always positive, has a smile on her face and can always make you feel better. That is why we chose Nicole as our Youth Spotlight for 2005, because personally, I think there was not a better choice.

Nicole with Russian woman in Japan, 2005

Nicole on a YAG Retreat in 2004

Nicole at a ropes course in 2002

Solar Youth's 2005 Year-in-Review Newsletter  

Overview of Solar Youth and highlights from 2005

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