Left to right: Exploring Edgewood Park; Teambuilding Game, Spring 2012 Youth Summit; Hiking Westwoods
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 help them develop the skills and competencies to be happy and healthy stewards of their communities and own lives. McConaughyTerrace
Citycology is offered to children ages 4 to 8 living in lowincome New Haven neighborhoods. Paid Youth Educator Interns lead the program, teaching curriculum and mentoring the younger participants. Citycology was held twice per week after school, plus full day trips on Saturdays, for 10 weeks in Fall 2011 and 12 weeks in Spring 2012. The program was offered in the Westville Manor and McConaughy Terrace public housing developments in the fall; in spring, Citycology was offered in one additional neighborhood, Newhallville.
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. 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.
Fall 2011 - Spring 2012 Hours of program offered Teenage youth hired Total youth enrolled Out-of-Neighborhood Adventure Trips Youth-led Community Service Action Projects (C-SAPs) Youth-led Public Education Projects (PEPs)
144 16 83 20 5 5
PROGRAM DEMOGRAPHICS Female Male
African-American Latino/a Caucasian Other
78% 9.5% 7.5% 5%
Left to right: Citycology Stewards bird watching; Looking for ants in their natural habitat; â€œWatering the plantsâ€? at the End of Season Celebration; Exploring New Haven parks
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
Ants on Parade Spider Web Wonders Chia Pets Flower Power Love the Earth/Less is More Recycled Crafts Show Me the Energy!
Developmental topics addressed and activities conducted during the 2011 Fall Season included: Literacy Emotional Intelligence Empathy
Kindness Listening Skills Cooperation
Building Motor Skills Mind/Body Regulation Friendship Building
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! Fall Explorations
Hiking at West Rock Park
Stewards from every Solar Youth team were represented during our fall kick-off hike. 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 in honor of 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 Bluff Point in Groton – the last remaining stretch of preserved land along the Long Island Sound in CT.
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 Star 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
Hiking at East Rock Park
Hiking at Westwoods
Descriptions To celebrate the start to a new program season, we held our Kick-off Hike at East Rock Park. There, select Citycology Stewards played get to know you games with older participants, then hiked the Giant Steps to the summit where we had lunch with an amazing view and played more games! Citycology Stewards ventured to Westwoods in Guilford, CT for a low-land hiking experience! Some impressively large, ancient rock formations served as exploration caves, and youth enjoyed imagining the people who might have lived there.
Exploring at the Beardsley Youth embarked on a journey to the Beardsley Zoo, where they spent the day completing scavenger hunts and observing exotic animals! Zoo
Youth Summit 2012!
Youth spent 3 days exploring different urban ecosystems and museums in the area. Day 1 brought them to Edgewood Park for a day of learning about local food, while day 2 included a clean-up at West Haven Beach and a tour of the Peabody Museum’s “Big Food” exhibit. On day 3, youth participated in teambuilding games and taught each other what they’d learned throughout the Summit, while enjoying local ice cream sundaes!
Campfire at West Rock Citycology Stewards had their seasonal campfire trip, complete with games, songs, and s’mores in the woods. Nature Center Solar Star Trip at Roller Stewards with perfect attendance got to get their boogie on at Roller Magic, an old-school roller skating rink. Magic Stewards presented to friends, family, and each other what they’d done and
Public Education Forum at learned throughout the season! Citycology shared the bake sales they’d held for New Haven City Hall different local causes.
End of Season Celebration To celebrate a wonderful spring, Stewards, Interns, and staff trekked to Fort Nathan Hale for a day of games, exploration, and good food! at Fort Nathan Hale
Left to right: Playing soccer at Fort Nathan Hale; Creating seed bombs at Edgewood Park; Playing at Westwoods; Enjoying a good day of fun at the End of Season Celebration
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! Fall Community Service Action Projects Bake Sale for Columbus House (Westville Manor)
Bake Sale for Columbus House (McConaughy Terrace)
Descriptions Stewards in Westville Manor decided to raise money to help people 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.
Spring Community Service Action Projects
Bake Sale for Neighborhood Beautification
Westville Manor Stewards decided their neighborhood needed a little sprucing up – but realized they didn’t have the flowers or funds to make it prettier. With a hearty dose of community support, their bake sale to raise money for plants went off without a hitch and earned plenty of funds for the cause.
Bake Sale for sick kids in New Haven hospitals (McConaughy Terrace)
Bake Sale for Neighborhood Trash/Recycling Bins (Newhallville)
Stewards in McConaughy Terrace realized that so many people their age spend long periods of time in hospitals. To help them have a happier experience, Citycology kids held a bake sale to raise both awareness about the issue, and earn funding to send toys to those children. During their first season in Solar Youth, Stewards in Newhallville decided that they saw too much trash in their community, including many items that were recyclable. To solve this issue, they ran a bake sale to inform their neighbors about thedual importance of throwing trash in a bin (instead of on the ground) and recycling certain items, and also to raise money to put more bins in the area.
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. Fall Public Education Projects
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.
(Westville Manor) Bookmarks to raise awareness about homelessness
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.
Public Education Forum
Stewards participated in Solar Youth’s end-of-season celebration at Yale’s Afro-American Cultural Center, where Citycology youth presented what they learned and accomplished over the season to youth in other Solar Youth programs, family and friends.
Spring Public Education Projects
Posters to raise awareness about stewardship
The Westville Manor team created 5 posters to let people know what they learned about beautifying, being good stewards in their own community, and what they did for their C-SAP. They posted them during their bake sale.
Postcards to raise awareness McConaughy Terrace Stewards made 15 postcards to teach people about about sick children homelessness. They also distributed their projects during their (McConaughy Terrace) neighborhood bake sale. Postcards to raise awareness In Newhallville, Stewards realized that too much littering, and not about littering and recycling enough recycling, were major issues. They made 23 postcards to teach others about these issues and how to solve them. They distributed the (Newhallville) postcards during their bake sale in the community.
Public Education Forum
Stewards participated in Solar Youth’s end-of-season celebration at New Haven City Hall, where Citycology Interns presented what Stewards had learned and accomplished over the season to youth in other Solar Youth programs, family and friends.
Left to right: Newhallville’s bake sale to raise local awareness about littering; Citycology Stewards teaching at the Youth Summit; Creating posters to teach others about local food; Dancing to Solar Youth songs
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 = 44) CATEGORY Youth Development Outcomes Prompt: “Because of Solar Youth…” Empowerment The community values my child My child is given useful roles in the community 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
% OF PARENTS WHO AGREED
75% 88% 98% 70% 96% 94%
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
79% 92% 72% 93% 89%
Left to right: Citycology Intern teaching a Steward how to play wiffle ball; Stewards playing and cleaning up at West Haven Beach; Stewards enjoying all the fun at the Beardsley Zoo!
Intern Feedback *Data is for all Youth Educator Interns during 2011-2012 school-year programs. CATEGORY Youth Educator Skills Outcomes “Participation in Solar Youth…” Prepared me to use a lesson plan to deliver lessons through experiential (hands-on) 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. 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.
% OF INTERNS WHO AGREED
96% 100% 96% 82% 93%
85% 57% 86%
My personal financial management skills have improved. My work ethic has improved. My commitment to excellence has improved. Long Term Outcomes “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.
89% 96% 94%
100% 82% 82% 100% 91% 91%
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.”
“Since joining Solar Youth, my child is more active with community activities. She’s more social with others and improved in her social skills and is learning quite a few things about nature. She really loves it.” -Citycology Parent
“My child teaches me about bugs and cleaning up the community. He is learning about the city he lives in and how to keep it clean.” “Since joining Solar Youth, my child has learned to get along with other kids and play together instead of by himself. He has also learned to share with other kids.” “Since joining Solar Youth, my child is much happier.” 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.”
“I’m so happy. I love being here.” Educator: “What’s your favorite thing you’ve learned in Solar Youth this season?” Participant: “Everything!” “I picked up trash and watered the plants.” “My favorite trip was when we found a frog and we ate some marshmallows with crackers.” “I liked the fire and marshmallow trip.” Interns: “Because of Solar Youth I have become more responsible and more aware of the feelings of other people around me.” “Because of Solar Youth I am a more mature person who cares about children and the environment and different ways I can learn and teach others.” “Because of Solar Youth I’m a great, smart, outgoing young lady that can do anything I put my mind to.” “In Solar Youth I learned more about the environment and I am more aware of my surroundings.”
What Worked Well Intern-Steward mentorship
Citycology involvement in adventure trips
Art as a debriefing tool
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 four sessions of new curriculum this season, all of which were successful.
Room for Improvement Age range
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.
Top row, left to right: Problem Solvers Destiny, Phoenix, Heaven, and Kaprice! Middle row, left to right: Intern (and HS Senior) Kayla thanks Solar Youth at the 2012 Spring Solar Youth PEF; Javon learning about turtles; Intern Rigo and Terry at the PEF