Left to right: Hiking at West Rock Park; Teambuilding Day at Judges Cave; SY Fall 2011 Public Education Forum
The Citycology Program is a youth-teaching-youth program that enlists the talents of high school students to instruct and mentor younger youth. Like all Solar Youth programs, the main goal of Citycology is to provide supports and opportunities to youth that give help them develop the skills and competencies to be happy and healthy stewards of their communities and own lives. Citycology is offered to children ages 4 to 8 living in New Haven neighborhoods where the program is offered. High school interns lead the program, teaching curriculum and mentoring the younger participants. The program is held twice per week in each neighborhood. Citycology is a core program of Solar Youth’s “Cycle of Stewardship” - a menu of programs for youth ages 4 to 18+ that allows youth to learn about local ecology, participate in outdoor adventures and become agents of change in their communities, as they build on experiences over time, maintain relationships, progressively gain more leadership skills, and finally serve as neighborhood leaders and role models for younger children. Like all programs, Citycology follows Solar Youth’s unique program model: Kids Explore! Kids Do! Kids Teach! In this model, youth investigate the local ecology of their community (Kids Explore!), identify environmental issues that affect the health of people and the natural environment, and seek solutions through a process of problem-solving and youth led action (Kids Do!), then teach what they have learned and accomplished to others through public education projects (Kids Teach!). The expected outcomes for youth who participate in Citycology are: x A demonstrated development of, at minimum, eight of the Search Institute's 40 Developmental
Assets (the building blocks of positive youth development, the possession of which has shown to have significant effect on youth's ability to resist negative influences and achieve success in adult life). The Developmental Assets we measure are within the categories of 'constructive use of time,' 'empowerment,' 'commitment to learning,' 'positive values,' and 'social competencies.' x A demonstrated increase in environmental knowledge and commitment to environmental stewardship. In addition, outcomes for Youth Educators include: x A demonstrated increase in understanding of best principles and practices of youth development. x A demonstrated development of employability skills, such as timeliness, public speaking, personal
financial management, work ethic and a commitment to excellence. PAGE 1
Finally, as a result of implementation of youth-led Community Service Action Projects (C-SAPs) and Public Education Projections (PEPs), Citycology contributes to an ecologically healthier and more environmentally conscious City of New Haven and its environs.
During the Fall of 2011â€Ś Hours of program offered Teenage youth hired Total youth enrolled Out-of-Neighborhood Adventure Trips Youth-led Community Service Action Projects Youth-led Public Education Projects
54 8 45 9 2 2
PROGRAM DEMOGRAPHICS Female Male
African-American Latino/a Caucasian Other
77% 11% 7% 5%
From left to right: Citycology Stewards on a nature hike; Performing at the PEF; Celebrating a successful season; Over-the-Rock Teambuilding Day and Hike.
Fall 2011 Citycology Curriculum Environmental topics addressed and activities conducted during Citycology this Fall included: Seasons and Cycles Harvest Celebrations Food Sources Farm to Table Insect Parts
Tree Identification/Care Food Chains Ecosystem Cycles Herbi-/Carni-/Omni-vore Adaptations
Water Pollution Ozone Trees in Fall Animal Tracks
Developmental topics addressed and activities conducted during the 2011 Fall Season included: Literacy Emotional Intelligence Empathy
Kindness/Making Friends Listening Skills Cooperation
Building Motor Skills
Kids Explore! As part of every Solar Youth program season, youth not only have a chance to explore their local ecology, but they also participate in several out-of-neighborhood explorations! Exploration
Hiking at West Rock Park
The fall kick-off hike at West Rock Park was a huge success! Stewards from every Solar Youth team were represented, and Citycology did an excellent job encouraging their friends all the way to the summit! The group also learned a little bit about the history of the park, during a lunch break at Judges’ Cave.
Campfire at West Rock Nature Center
Complete with field games, s’mores, and campfire songs, this Citycology-only trip was fun-filled from start to finish! Interns led the evening, which for many young Stewards was their first time out so late!
Over-the-Rock Hiking and Teambuilding at West Rock Park
Beginning with a romp through Rice Field, Stewards made their way up to Indian Head, and then onto East Rock’s famous Giant Steps, helping each other all the way up. At the summit, the group played games and created a Thank You banner for Veterans’ Day. In an attempt to bring together teams from our McConaughy Terrace and Westville Manor neighborhoods, this adventure was based around teamwork and building solidarity. Each group hiked from their “side” of West Rock, meeting at the top for a day of games and friendship.
Hiking at Bluff Point State Park
On a beautiful fall day, Stewards hiked over 3 miles to the point and back, getting stunning views of the ocean along the way!
Exploring at Yale Peabody Museum
From the “Bloodsuckers” exhibit on bedbugs and other creepy crawlies, to the gemstone room, to the exhibits on Native American culture, Stewards thoroughly enjoyed this day of learning.
Solar Start Trip at Mystic Aquarium
Stewards with perfect attendance throughout the season earned their spot on this special trip! Many were delighted to learn the differences between sea lions and seals, others were captivated by sting rays and jellyfish, but the stars of the day were the big beluga whales!
Public Education Forum at African American Cultural Center
Citycology performed their hearts out, offering the audience two original numbers about the bake sales they had done to raise money for homelessness.
End of Season Celebration at Clinton Avenue School
To culminate the season’s successes, Citycology Stewards joined their older Solar Youth counterparts for a day-long carnival-style celebration, complete with crafts, competitive games, snacks, a photo booth, dancing, and prizes!
Hiking at East Rock Park
From left to right: Playing kickball; Creating holiday crafts; Playing at Judges’ Cave.
Kids Do! After exploring their outdoor surroundings and participating in adventures further afield, youth identify an environmental or community issue they want to tackle, brainstorm solutions, develop plans to address the issue they have chosen and then implement and evaluate their project! We call this the Community Service Action Project (C-SAP) Cycle. Engaging in the C-SAP Cycle allows youth to hone their problem-solving skills, cultivates in them an identity as agents of positive change and makes their community a healthier and more beautiful place to live! Community Service Action Project Bake sale for Columbus House (Westville Manor)
Bake sale for Columbus House (McConaughy Terrace)
Description Stewards in Westville Manor decided to raise money to help people in who “don’t have homes or money for clothes.” Their chosen method of fundraising was a bake sale, and after a fun-filled adverstising campaign (complete with a costume parade) several families in the neighborhood stopped by to purchase baked goods and support the cause. Funds raised were donated to Columbus House in New Haven. In McConaughy Terrace, Stewards also decided to raise money for the homeless, and chose a bake sale too! Youth were very exctited to plan the event, figuring out every possible detail in advance. The day of the bake sale, the group ran around the neighborhood and advertised to families they knew. Unfortunately, the cold and wet weather kept many of them inside, but several parents and staff donated to make up for it! Funds raised were donated to Columbus House in New Haven.
Kids Teach! Stewards conclude the season by developing Public Education Projects (PEPs) that educate their peers, parents and general public about environmental and community issues that they care about. By designing and executing a PEP, youth have the opportunity to be recognized as public “experts” on important issues and “re-learn” important lessons from the earlier part of the season.
Postcards to raise awareness about homelessness
The Westville Manor team created 10 postcards to let people know what they learned about homelessness and what they did for their CSAP. They distributed them at the PEF. The group also sang a song about their bake sale. McConaughy Terrace Stewards made 22 bookmarks to teach people about homelessness. They also distributed their projects at the PEF. They, too, sang a song about their project. End of season celebration where Citycology youth presented what they learned and accomplished over the season to youth in other SY programs, family and friends. December 15, 2011 at Yale’s Afro-American Cultural Center.
(Westville Manor) Bookmarks to raise awareness about homelessness (McConaughy Terrace) Public Education Forum
From left to right: Nature Scavenger Hunt; Celebrating at the end of the season; Hiking to Judges’ Cave; Playing field games.
Solar Youth’s Evaluation Process Solar Youth measures its programs with a combination of evaluation tools, including (for Citycology) Portfolios (evidence and examples of youth community service and public education work), Family Feedback Forms, Community Feedback Forms, and exit interviews. The Family Feedback Forms are based on best-practice evaluation tools developed by the Search Institute.
Feedback from Participating Youth’s Parents (Number of parents who submitted feedback surveys = 29) CATEGORY Youth Development Outcomes Prompt: “Because of Solar Youth…” Empowerment The community values Solar Youth my child My child is given useful roles in the community
% OF PARENTS WHO AGREED
93% 90% PAGE 5
Commitment to Learning My child is actively engaged in learning My child wants to do well in school Positive Values My child places a high value on helping others My child is more accountable for his/her actions Social Competencies My child’s planning and decision making skills have improved My child has learned to be a better friend My child is more sensitive to the feelings of others Environmental Outcomes My child’s knowledge about the environment improved My child is more responsible about the effect he/she has on the environment Quality Assurance I would recommend Solar Youth to my friends/other parents I would like to (see my child) attend Solar Youth next season
96% 93% 96% 93% 96% 96% 78% 90% 90%
From left to right: Citycology Intern teaching a Steward about the leaves of fall; Advertising for the CSAP Bake Sale to raise money for Columbus House; Playing tag.
Intern Feedback (Number of parents who submitted feedback surveys = XX) CATEGORY Youth Educator Skills Outcomes “Participation in Solar Youth…” Prepared me to use a lesson plan to deliver lessons through experiential (handson) education. Prepared me to practice positive behavior management. Helped me to develop skills as a group facilitator. Prepared me to implement activities that involve multiple intelligences.
% OF INTERNS WHO AGREED
83% 100% 100% 83% PAGE 6
Helped me to attain greater knowledge of principles of environmental education. Employability Skills Outcomes “After being an intern in Solar Youth…” I feel that my timeliness has improved. My preparation skills have improved. My public speaking skills have improved. My personal financial management skills have improved. My work ethic has improved. My commitment to excellence has improved. Environmental Outcomes “After being an intern in Solar Youth…” I know more about the issues and concepts affecting the environment. My commitment to environmental stewardship has increased. Long-Term Impact of Solar Youth “My overall experience with Solar Youth, both this season and in the past, has…” Prepared me for future employment. Encouraged me to continue my education. Encouraged me to live a healthier lifestyle. Motivated me to seek out opportunities to help my community. Helped me to develop a more positive sense of self. Taught me to consider the impact of my actions on the health of the environment.
100% 100% 83% 50% 83% 100%
100% 100% 83% 83% 100% 83%
Quotes and Testimonials Citycology Parents: “I love this program for my children. It keeps them in a positive place and out of harm’s way. Thank you.” “Since my child joined Solar Youth, he asks a lot of questions about the earth and mountains and trees." “Heaven taught me how not to be a litter bug and how we can recycle our bottles instead of throwing them away. She picks up trash that falls on the ground when we’re out.” “Since my child joined Solar Youth, he is more interactive with other children his age.” “My child wants to heal the world, she likes to recycle and clean the yard, feed the birds, take out the trash, make bird feeders. She likes to sing songs, talk nicely about others and talks about the trips and the teachers and all the fun they have.”
“This is the best place for my child to be. He has learned so much, and I recommend that all children in the neighborhood attend Solar Youth.” -Citycology Parent
Citycology Participants “My favorite part of Solar Youth was when we did the bake sale.” “At Solar Youth, I learned we could be kind to people.” “My favorite trip with Solar Youth was when we had a campfire.” “I’m so happy. I love being here.”
What Worked Well Intern-Steward mentorship
Citycology involvement in adventure trips
Art as a debriefing tool
Room for Improvement Age range
Why, and Suggested Adjustments Interns set goals for connecting with Stewards this season, and in most cases these goals were met! Stewards often showed and verbally expressed their appreciation for their Interns, who got to know their teams very well before the end of the season! Families were always kept well-informed of details pertaining to the program and their children. They picked up their children with more regularity than in any other Citycology season, and came to expect and follow sign-out procedures. Several showed up for the PEF at the end of the season, and a few even came on field trips with us! Because Citycology Stewards are so much younger than many of those in other programs, their involvement in Solar Youth-wide trips (particularly more rigorous outdoor activities) has been somewhat low in the recent past. This season, however, there was a cohort of Citycology youth at every trip that they were physically able to attend! Stewards in this season’s Citycology teams LOVED art projects. Interns figured this out early on, and used art to teach – and to debrief Stewards about what they learned! The Coordinator added 4 sessions of new curriculum this season, all of which were successful. Why, and Suggested Adjustments There is a wide range of developmental stages represented in the Citycology program. While Stewards as young as 4 are just barely learning how to participate in a social group, or to read, older Stewards at seven and eight have been attending school with their peers for years, and have developed social, literacy, attention, and motor skills that are necessary for success in Solar Youth. While Citycology aims to increase these developmental skills and competencies, there is sometimes little capacity to accommodate such a broad spectrum. While several family members were engaged in the daily activity of the program, staff would still like to help foster greater family involvement in adventure trips and end-of-season activities. PAGE 8
Clockwise from top left: Program Instructor Shakila McKnight at McConaughy Terrace; Stewards making a Veteranâ€™s Day banner at East Rock; Enjoying the afternoon sun; Performing at the PEF; Exploring nature!