Page 1


Volume 10 - Issued May 2011

2010 Year-in-Review

Green Jobs Youth Development aunched in spring 2010, Green Jobs Youth Development is a program where youth ages 14 to 19+ are trained as Urban Forestry Apprentices. Our inaugural class of 12 youth in the spring, summer and fall engaged their community in ‗reforestation efforts‘ around their neighborhood. For most, this was their first job experience.

community organizing, and core job skills such as time management and communication. The youth showed off their skills to a group of Yale interns during an Apprentice-led treeplanting workshop at New Haven‘s Holocaust Memorial. quipped with urban forestry skills, youth selected areas of improvement around the Westville Manor neighborhood based on their assessments of the landscape. They designed planting projects with help from community volunteers. The social and ecological landscapes of the Manor certainly improved .

he program began with an orientation camping trip at the Yale Myers Forest. We were the first group of high-school youth to do an overnight at the forest. Apprentices still talk about the experience of taking a night hike, sleeping in tents, an impromptu dance party around the campfire, and Q: Have you noticed a learning about the New Engdifference in yourself? land Forest ecosystem with an energetic guide, Forest Manager Richard Campbell.

ince April of 2010, thirty-five youth have worked together to plant seven new trees and coor-Green Jobs Apprentice dinated seven front ack in New Haven youth took workshops on treeyard and two public planting and stewardship, species planting projects, including ‖Eddie‘s and site selection, landscape design, Garden,‖ dedicated to a local young man who was murdered in 2005.

“Yes! I am a new man!”

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Rebecca Gratz Chair

Aviv Aviad Treasurer

Kieran Coleman Secretary

Keely Boyer Joe Denicola

Green Jobs Apprentices during playground build

rban forestry is not all about planting: the task of measuring and assessing the health of existing trees is equally important. Apprentices learned forest inventory skills, including proper usage of measurement tools such as clinometers and DBH tapes. As a result of their persistent efforts, Apprentices collected data on all three hundred standing trees in Westville Manor!

Scott Little Shakila McKnight Youth Member

Joanne Sciulli Donald Smith

ast summer, Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services needed help providing opportunities to children new to this country. Normally, Solar Youth takes a break in late August. But we realized that over the last 10 years we empowered two young women with the skills to run a program on their own. hakila McKnight (youth-Board member involved with SY since 2000), and Nicole Dunnaville (SY since 2002, about to start her 2nd year of


Landscaping a neighbor’s front yard

e hope to expand this program to support more youth as they build the skills and motivations needed to be successful in life!

With Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS)

Norris Haynes Cathy Jones

Apprentice Ardae Staggers

see our 2010 accomplishments and how

college) developed the IRIS Adventure Team. For 2 weeks they led youth on outdoor adventures and taught basic English to 10 children from Iraq, the Congo, Afghanistan and Pakistan. ighlights include hikes in East Rock Park, learning about local ecology, exploring New Haven‘s public resources, playing games and making crafts! e are so proud of Solar Youth‘s new generation of leaders!

Nicole (far left) with youth and staff from IRIS.

Kids Explore! Kids Do! Kids Teach!

2010 Adult Staff Joanne Sciulli EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Beth Pellegrino

Solar Youth is now in our second decade of serving New Haven‘s young people. Since our founding in 2000, over 3,600 young people have participated in our programs, including 200 teenagers trained and hired as co-leaders. Youth have completed over 230 Community Service Action Projects (C-SAPs) and 150 Public Education Projects (PEPs). Among our youth, we have witnessed incredible growth in self-esteem, communication and teamwork skills, ecological knowledge and commitment to environmental stewardship.





Melissa Bruhn Maggie Dressel Rachel Holmes Vanessa Kauffman Peter Kazienko Curtis Lemieux Benjamin Michalak Kate Sirianni PUBLIC ALLIES

Robert Goerhke Hallie Martenson 2010 Youth Staff YOUTH PROGRAM INTERNS

Shelby Blumell Anthony Campell, Jr. Niamke Ellis Alexis Hargrove Jazmine Herring Adisa John Odessa Little Dontae Lucky Shane Lucky Shanice Lucky Shareece Lucky Markita McCrea Brittney Palmer Devante Pratt Rosie Roman Jamesha Rumley Troy Smith Candyce Smith Naomy Velex Natasha Velez Rodnesha ―Boomie‖ Williams-Green, Randall Wright, Jr. GREEN JOB SENIOR APPRENTICES

Bernice Council Essence Dawson Kiera Kelley Jermaine Solomon

We started in 2000 with a group of eight youth ages 8 to 13, meeting in an abandoned bank, together learning how to start a non-profit organization. In 2010, Solar Youth enrolled 600 youth in our out-of-school and in-school programs - a new record and more than 30% increase from 2009.

We couldn‟t have done it without your help.

We are inspired by your commitment to our work, and do our best every day to make sure we don‘t let you down. For us, that means making sure our impact is deep and meaningful, so that our kids have more opportunities and supports to grow up to be healthy, happy and caring adults. It also means that we do our best to broaden our reach, and in 2011 we are well positioned to do just that. Starting this spring, we began to replicate our Neighborhood Model of concentrated programming (which we have been piloting in Westville Manor for the past three years) to new communities. Our expansion has begun with two programs in McConaughy Terrace, a public housing development on the southern side of West Rock Ridge State Park (for more on our Neighborhood Model, see page 4). Over the next two years, we will gradually expand in new target communities so that youth throughout the City of New Haven can depend on Solar Youth to be there for them, from pre-school all the way to high school graduation.

We rely on your support in order to roll out these plans. But you can rely on us to ensure that your investment will result in a brighter future for New Haven‘s youth. Please consider renewing or beginning your support of Solar Youth by returning the enclosed envelope with your generous donation. Thanks again for all of your support throughout the years! Sincerely, Joanne Sciulli Founder/Executive Director


Solar Youth‘s , developed by founding youth and adults, is to provide opportunities for young people to develop a positive sense of self and connection and commitment to others through programs that incorporate environmental exploration, leadership and community service. Our overarching goal is for the youth of New Haven to be healthy and happy stewards of their own lives and communities, prepared and motivated to succeed in life.

As a result of Solar Youth,

New Havenâ€&#x;s young people‌ ...learn about the world around them through hands-on experience and adventure ...improve their personal and social competencies (teamwork and communication skills, positive values, commitment to learning and sense of empowerment)

...become positive agents of change in their communities, and ...make New Haven an ecologically healthier and civically more vibrant city

Just as in a natural Interdependence ecosystem, at Solar Youth, everything is connected. We believe every person brings value, talent and resources to the organization. Teamwork, amongst staff, youth, volunteers and organizational partners, combines our individual strengths to achieve our mission. We are committed to the sustainaStewardship ble care-taking of the natural and social environments in which we work. This is practiced through our operations (resource conservation and purchasing decisions) and programs (activities that promote the health of individuals and communities).

Excellence Drawings by Dayniera Artis

We strive to deliver the highest quality opportunities and supports to youth in the face of all challenges. Each person is accountable for their role in achieving success.


All people deserve to be treated with respect and compassion, and seen for their potential to grow, succeed and contribute. Solar Youth is a place for children and adults to feel safe, be supported in their growth, and appreciated for who they are and how they contribute.


We strive to incorporate joy, trust and adventure in everything we do.

Solar Youth x Page 3

Solar Youth’s Neighborhood Model of Programming chieving long-term success, no matter provided consistent opportunities to learn what challenges you face in life, deabout and experience the outdoors, both pends on the acquisition of core personal within and outside their communities. and social competencies, such as personal onsistent and sustained nurturing of responsibility, a sense of caring and empayouth‘s core competencies and envithy, teamwork and communication skills, ronmental stewardship is and commitment to the basis of our Neighborlearning (see page 3 for hood Model of concenlist of the competencies To have a truly transfortrated programming, Solar Youth develops in which is central to Solar youth). mational impact on Youth‘s long-term vision. eveloping these their lives, there needs competencies in e have been pilotto be consistent conyouth who face exing our Neighbortraordinary challenges hood Model in tact, starting at an early is at the core of Solar the Westville Youth‘s work. The kids Manor Public age, which meets the we serve, who grow up Housing Develvarying needs of youth in low-income neighopment for the borhoods in New Hapast three years in a community. ven, need more than a with very encourpiecemeal approach aging results. to youth development. To have a truly transformational impact on his spring (2011) we began their lives, there needs to be consistent replicating this model in a secontact, starting at an early age, which cond neighborhood. By the spring meets the varying needs of youth in a comof 2012, we plan to have the full munity. The menu of opportunities must menu of neighborhood-based allow for youth to grow into new roles, and programs in three neighborhoods. take on leadership as skills and competenAnd we don‘t plan to stop at cies develop. three! We truly believe that we are developing a series of programs n addition to the critical need for susthat can have a profound impact tained youth development, our urban on youth in low-income neighborcommunities have very little opportunity for hoods in any urban community in environmental education. In order to cultithe country. vate a love of the environment and committed and sustained stewardship, we ben the coming years, we will be lieve that youth, and their families, must be proactive in sharing the results of

ll Solar Youth programs are based on our unique program model for urban environmental education. Following 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!). This graphic demonstrates the 9-steps youth take for their ―Kids Do!‖ Community Service Action Projects.

Page 4 x Solar Youth

our efforts to implement this model by participating in relevant conferences, networks and publications. Through these efforts, we will not only disseminate knowledge about our program model, but also learn from other youth development and environmental education practitioners about best practices that we can use to refine our own work. ventually, we hope to replicate our Neighborhood Model in additional communities in New Haven, and other cities in Connecticut and possibly around the country! So STAY TUNED!!

ince the age of 4, Rakema has been a yearround fixture at Solar Youth. Now 8, Kema‘s regular attendance isn‘t all that makes her stand out. Her energy, smile and excitement about program also set her apart. ―I love going on fun adventures!‖ Kema said when asked what she enjoys most. ―The best part is playing games and going on field trips. I really like that.‖

herish has grown up with Solar Youth, beginning her journey at age five in Citycology. Cherish is nearly always the first to arrive to program with a big smile, ready to play hard and work hard. She continues to hone her leadership skills and has impressed educators with her interest in peer mediation.

And Kema isn‘t just in it for the fun and games. Last fall, when her Steward Team invited others to participate in their Community Fun Day and Clean-Up, Kema‘s impassioned shouts could be heard near and far: ―We gotta save this park!‖ she yelled, picking up litter from her beloved playground, ―They‘re not gonna kill this park!‖ Spirited and courageous, with a love of fun and a heart for service, we hope Kema‘s influence on Solar Youth will continue for years to come!

―I like Solar Youth because I get to play with a lot of friends and meet new friends. I think the C-SAPs are cool because we get to rap about our project and spend time with each other.‖

As a member of the Fall 2010 Steward Team, she helped lead her team to complete a fantastic Community Service Action Project, including a park clean-up, community fun-day and bake sale to benefit park upkeep. She took part in three of four seasons in 2010, hitting the trails even in knee-deep snow. her own words roy first worked with Solar Youth in 2008 in a partnership with the Urban Resources Initiative where he planted trees throughout New Haven. He took his grandfather on a tour of the trees he planted all over the City. Troy returned to us in 2010 as a youth program intern. He impressed us with his thoughtfulness and quiet leadership. He excelled during our 4-day retreat in the mountains of New Hampshire, showing both mental and physical perseverance while we hiked, snowshoed, and slept one night in a mountaintop cabin with no electricity. Troy finished the spring season a great intern, but returned in fall a real leader. He went out of his way to make new interns feel comfortable; he opened up deeply during reflection time; and he made our sides split with laughter. When asked to lead a name game once, he countered by offering to lead a tag game too - one he made up himself. When his educator missed a day of staff training, he independently contacted her to let her know what happened. Last fall Educator Robbie wrote a recommendation for college. Troy has decided to attend Wesley College in Delaware and major in English. During testimony in front of the CT Legislature seeking to restore our funding, Troy said that ―after becoming a youth worker I learned, and continue to learn, better ways to communicate with children. On a personal level, it has given me skills to better handle my smaller brother.‖ Troy - you are a star!!

have been involved within Solar Youth's programs for 9 years now and each of those years have been rewarding to me in their own little way. Starting off as a participant and eventually working my way up to becoming a program instructor, I have seen the diversity of kids in New Haven, each whom have distinct characteristics and personalities. When teaching in the Steward Teams or in Citycology I got to see and work with the youth one-on-one which helped to form relationships. While creating these relationships, I realized that there are very bright boys and girls in our programs, some of whom could not shine because of personal problems at home, school or even in their own neighborhoods. Solar Youth acts as a safe haven to allow those youth to shine, grow and talk about whatever is on their mind. I believe that if some of these kids have a positive person or program to go to and just watch out for them at all times, they would be able to grow to be the best that they could be. For this reason I decided to study Social Work at Southern Connecticut State University. After I graduate, I hope to move on and work with New Haven's youth to give back to the city who has given me so much!

Solar Youth x Page 5

Solar Youth’s FULL Menu of Programs Ages


4 to 8


Season Details

9 to 13

Steward Teams Service/Adventure Crew SY Summer Camp Winter Explorers HOLA in-school program

12 to 14

Leaders in Training

ALL Fall, Spring Fall, Spring Summer Winter Fall, Spring various

14 to 18+ Internships Green Jobs Youth Dev.


Teenagers trained and hired as Environmental Educators (pg 6) Based in neighborhoods and schools (pg 7) Adventure on Tuesdays, service project on Thursdays (pg 12) Citywide program with theme-focused adventures (pg 10) Youth in neighborhood sites explore the winter environment (pg 8) Hands-on Outdoor Learning Adventure with grades 2-5 (pg 9) Preparation for young teens to become leaders (pg 8) Co-leadership of programs for younger youth Apprenticeship in urban forestry and employment skills (pg 1)

Youth Teaching Youth ach season, we hire and train teenage Youth Educators, many who graduated from Solar Youth programs. They teach introductory concepts of ecology and the environment in their own communities to children ages 4 to 8. Each session includes experiential lessons, reading, games and songs. They also go on day-long adventure trips, and complete Community Service Action and Public Education Projects. Solar Youth has successfully piloted Citycology in Westville Manor since 2008 as part of our Neighborhood Model. or Citycology youth and interns, 2010 was a whirlwind year! Spring and fall saw the continuation of the incredible environmental education curriculum developed by former coordinator Curtis Lemieux, while summer camp proved to be our most spectacular yet! Each week of camp, youth explored a new theme of ecological conservation, enjoyed adventure trips to


Summer percussion workshop with Gammy Moses

Page 6 x Solar Youth

state parks and museums, and participated in activities designed to build self-esteem, communication, selfconfidence, and cooperation. n September, Solar Youth welcomed new program coordinator Amanda Bancroft, who moved to New Haven Youth Educator Odessa and her Team during a Service Project clean-up from Denver, Colorado where she worked at a year-round literacy organization. She and oth seasons culminated in original Cveteran intern Rodnesha ―Boomie‖ Williams SAPs created and executed by youth. Green, second-season intern Jasmine HerIn the spring, the problem the 4 to 8 year ring and first-season intern olds independently identiCandyce Smith built on the fied was ―lack of friendship great foundation set by Problem identified: in our neighborhood.‖ previous staff, bringing fresh Citycology‘s solution: a lack of friendship in perspective to lessons and friendship campaign, includthe neighborhood. activities. ing a poster and friendship Citycology’s soluhemes covered in our bracelets. In the fall, when unique youth-teachingone youth announced that tion: a youth program in 2010 inkids in the hospital would cluded animal tracking, ―not have a very good insect parts, conservation, Christmas‖ the group was pollution and the web of inspired to raise money to life. Youth regularly explored natural rebuy presents. They led a community cupsources in their community and expressed cake sale and sent the funds to Yale-New their findings through several mediums. In Haven Hospital‟s Toy Closet Program. the spring, singing songs was a favorite e could not be prouder of the comactivity, while youth in the fall were delightpassion and empathy our youth ed by art and craft projects showing what showed others! they learned.

friendship campaign.

Youth Across the City Explore! Do! and Teach! teward Teams are after-school programs based at our three partners school and two target neighborhoods. Following the model Kids Explore! Kids Do! Kids Teach!, adult educators in partnership with high school interns guide teams of youth ages 9 to 13 through community and science explorations, the C-SAP (Community Service Action Project) cycle (page 4) and in creating a Public Education Project. Below are some highlights from last year!

Banner for Westville Manor’s Community Fun Day

The youth had planned a Community Fun Day for their C-SAP, and now it was time to spread the word. At first, some of them didn't want to even go outside, let alone distribute fliers. But after a few practice runs, we headed out. The youth were a bit timid at first. Then they talked to their first person, saying exactly what we had practiced: "Hi! We're having a Community Fun Day on Wednesday, from 4:30-6:30. There will be a community clean up, bake sale, raffle and games! Can you make it?" Per-

2010 Staff Retreat: Cardigan Mountain, New Hampshire

Spring 2010 C-SAP‘s included a cigarette butt clean-up around Barnard Environmental Science Magnet School, litter campaigns at John S. Martinez School and the near-by Criscuolo Park, graffiti removal in Westville Manor and the design and distribution of recycling bins at Truman School. In the Fall, youth coordinated a food and clothing drive for DESK (Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen), an air pollution campaign, a Community Fun Day at Westville Manor, a fundraiser for trash cans and recycling bins at Truman School and a litter clean-up at Edgewood Park. The following is a ―Sunshine Moment‖ around one of the Teams‘ C-SAPs, written by 2nd year Public Ally Robbie Goehrke:

Barnard Steward Team surveying community organizer Kevin Ewing about West River Memorial Park and traffic

Youth-led Westville Manor Playground Clean up

or the past two years, 6th graders in Solar Youth's Advanced Steward Team at Barnard Environmental Magnet School have identified public disuse of West River Memorial Park as their service project challenge, and have cleaned up litter and planted flowers in an effort to make the park more appealing. This year, with the guidance of Educator Maggie Dressel, they went beyond quick fixes by surveying neighborhood residents and discovering that people want to visit the park, but do not feel safe crossing the traffic-heavy Ella T. Grasso Blvd. to get there. Youth gathered information from the community and created a traffic safety poster presentation that they delivered to the Traffic Department's Jim Travers and

Martinez Team C-SAP clean-up of their schoolyard

haps to their surprise, they got a positive response! With that small taste of success, their inner-community organizers were released. They ran from one door to the next, passing out over 100 fliers and talking to more than two dozen adults, all within 30 minutes and in 40 degree weather. While the three older girls went together, Jaylon was talking all by himself -- and he's only 9 years old! They were beaming with pride by the end. Not only was I so proud of them, but they were proud of themselves. Steward Teams also go on weekend adventures. Last year‘s included trips to CT Science Center (Hartford), camping in Sleeping Giant, hiking in East Rock, West Rock and West Woods Park (Guilford), the Bethany Observatory, Lyman Orchards and a cleanup on West Haven beach.

Maggie Dressel and Barnard Steward Team present to City officials Rob Smuts, Jim Travers and Mike Piscatelli

Mike Piscatelli and Chief Administrative Officer Rob Smuts at City Hall. In response to these efforts, the City lengthened the walk signal leading to the park. With the guidance of Jim Travers, they will also paint traffic-calming symbols on the sidewalks near the intersection. Youth hope that these and similar traffic issues in the area will continue to be addressed by the city and state!

Good Job Barnard Steward Team!

Solar Youth x Page 7

Outdoor Survival! eaders-in-Training is an internship opportunity for our neighborhood 11 to 13 year old youth who are ready for the next challenge, but aren‘t old enough to be interns. LIT focuses on teambuilding, leadership styles, conflict resolution, communication, time management, public speaking, and more, as youth prepare to become paid youth educators in our Citycology and Steward Team programs, or as Green Jobs Apprentices.

trace in the woods. They put these skills into practice on three weekend hikes to parks across Connecticut. Three youth participated in the Teen Leadership Weekend at the YMCA‘s Camp Hazen, learning crucial teambuilding skills, and forging friendships with youth from around the state.

―Because of Solar Youth I learned to survive outdoors.‖

n the spring of 2010, after going through a written application and interview process, 10 LIT participants met for 6 weeks. Adopted from the teachings of the Appalachian Mountain Club‟s Outdoor Leadership Training (OLT), LIT participants learned how to cook outdoors, navigate using a map and compass, shop for nutritious food, and leave no

he entire experience culminated in a 4-day overnight backpacking trip. Our partners at the Appalachian Mountain Club provided all of the gear, including huge packs, sleeping bags, tents, and pots and pan. Five youth put their knowledge to the test as they took turns navigating the trails, setting up the tents, and cooking the food.

Khalil, Victor and Paulina backcountry camping

t was an adventure of a lifetime - one that will stay with them for years to come.

“We glow with the snow!” While most kids stay inside all winter, Solar Youth kids are EXPLORING! inter Explorers is program in which New Haven youth learn about winter ecology, animal migration and animal tracking, as well as try many new winter activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and hiking in the snow! Many adventures were made possible due to our amazing partnership with the Appalachian Mountain Club‟s Youth Opportunities Program. After a successful pilot in 2009, we expanded the program considerably in 2010. There were 18 program days over 6 weeks from January to February with 29 youth enrolled - an increase from 12 youth in ‗09!

A major component of the program was making sure youth explored the outdoors every day. Whether playing games, going on hikes, or having fun sledding, the Winter Explorers spent on average a full hour outside each program day. Some highlights of the season were building a campfire, tracking animals through the snow, using compasses to complete a neighborhood treasure hunt, and taking the city bus to Edgewood Park to visit the New Haven Parks Department‘s snakes and amphibians and learn about the local trees.

Youth speak for themselves: Because of Solar Youth… ―I don’t have to stay inside.‖ ―I feel better about myself.‖

This season I learned... ―That deciduous trees are the trees that their leaves fall down.‖ ―How to work with people better.‖

Page 8 x Solar Youth

Winter Explorers By: Talizha Jones (11 years old) Hi my name is Talizha Jones and my experience with Solar Youth goes way back. I‘ve been in Solar Youth since I was little [8 years old]. I‘ve loved it ever since the day I started. I used to love when we go to feed the birds. I ♥ Solar youth so much I always wanted to come and go and play with Solar Youth. Solar Youth is a very nice environmental program who helps our neighborhood be nice and clean and no graffiti everywhere.

Spring Vacation, 2010

Theme: Reduce, During the April vacation, Solar Youth hosts a three day program for our youth from across the City of New Haven. This year the theme was the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

DAY 1: Kids EXPLORE! Edgewood Park

During the first day of Solar Youth‘s Spring Summit, youth hiked through Edgewood Park and stopped at three different locations to participate in activities based on

the Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle theme. At the outdoor classroom youth did a trash reflection, listing the things they threw away the day before and what they could have done with them. For the Reuse station, youth worked as a team to create something from different materials to protect an egg from breaking when dropped. Youth did a Recycle Song Challenge at the Duck Pond where they took songs and recycled them into new ones with lyrics based on the theme. They also composed original songs on the three Rs.

DAY 2: Kids Do!

Oil Drum Painting and Clean-up

Youth Summit clean-up in Fair Haven

OLA is our in-school program run in collaboration with Barnard Environmental Science Magnet School. We supplement teachers‘ in-class curriculum with hands-on, outdoor lessons that align with the Connecticut Core Science Standards. HOLA provides opportunities for more than 200 youth in grades 2 through 6 to have direct educational experiences with the local natural environment, promoting natural science learning while nurturing budding environmental stewards. ow in our fifth year, HOLA will graduate our first class of participants who have been with us from the beginning. The 6th graders who began HOLA as our inaugural class of 2nd graders know better than anyone that participating in HOLA not only offers opportunities to boost their grades and better their community, but also to have FUN. We spend a lot of time tromping around in the school‘s backyard and adjacent West River Memorial Park. Here‘s just one of last year‘s highlights, as told by HOLA Coordinator Gammy Moses:

We partnered with Jack Ladris of Oil Drum Art to transform oil drums into painted trash cans using environmental themes. The drums were donated to and can be seen in the Upper State Street neighborhood. Youth also made recycled art from different materials and did a clean-up of the neighborhood, picking up 11 bags of trash. In a recycling relay, youth had to run over, pick up an item from a bin and place it where they thought it belonged (Landfill, Reuse or Recycle). Each group investigated the other team‘s bins to see if they agreed with where the items were placed.

t was a beautiful sunny day as we gathered in the park with a group of Barnard 5th graders to teach a lesson on Long Island Sound and biomagnification. We began to sing a Solar Youth original song:

Reuse, Recycle

Youth at Press Conference for painted Oil Drums with Mayor of New Haven and others

DAY 3: Kids TEACH!

New Haven Green For our final day we headed downtown. Three groups (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), made posters about their theme and created a presentation to teach others what they learned and accomplished. They sang their songs from the Recycle Song Challenge. Youth walked around the Green to show people their posters and encourage them to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. At the center stage on the green the groups did their presentations and sang their songs to each other.

A very powerful and teachable moment indeed, one that our youth still talk about today!

Biomagnifications Chemicals and their concentrations Go up, go up the food chain and stop Plankton soaks up the chemicals Small fishes have them for dishes Then comes along big fish splish splish Osprey is overhead… ll of a sudden, we noticed three ospreys circling above us. Everyone stopped singing and stood in awe!! It was as if the birds thought we were calling them. We continued singing: Next thing you know Big fish is dead It gets bigger, the problem gets bigger. What? It gets bigger, the problem gets bigger. It gets bigger, the problem gets bigger...

Solar Youth x Page 9

“1-2-3, give me EN-ER-GY!” was our official chant during 2010 Summer Camp. Our theme was ENERGY. During our summer camp, Kids Explored energy, Kids Did energy and Kids Taught energy.

learned about hydro power and dams and made rubber band boats (powered by potential energy). Youth practiced low impact boating on our East Rock canoe trip. The Schooner‟s Dockside Station allowed youth to learn about watersheds, water testing, simple machines and Long Island Sound intertidal zone species.

SOLAR TEAM C-SAP: GLOBAL WARMING Youth organized a petition to encourage the Mayor of New Haven to invest in more renewable sources of energy. They also created a flyer with tips on how we can reduce the effects of global warming. Youth handed out 150 informational flyers and collected over 300 signatures.

2010 Summer Camp staff

Testing rubber band powered boats at Eli Whitney Museum

Teaching public about fossil fuels on New Haven Green

Kids Explore! Week 1- Enormous Energy This week campers learned what energy is and why it‘s important. They learned about types and sources of energy. Our visit to the Connecticut Science Center allowed youth to explore different sources of energy and related topics, hands-on. We took an amazing Energy hike through our neighboring West Rock Ridge State Park.

Week 2- Non-Renewable Sources Campers learned about non-renewable sources of energy and their effects on the environment. They learned about fossil fuels and Connecticut‘s geological history at Dinosaur State Park, where they saw real dinosaur footprints. The youth also visited Outer Island where they leaned about the plants and animals of Long Island Sound.

Week 3- Renewable Sources This week youth learned about the importance of increasing the use of renewable sources. At Eli Whitney Museum they

Water Testing at Schooner’s Dockside lobster boat station

Page 10 x Solar Youth

Week 4- Food Energy Campers learned about food chains, food webs and the trophic pyramid and their relation to the different forms of energy. Youth visit City Seed‟s Farmers Market where they learned about the importance of local farms and interacted with local farmers. At the Pequot Museum we explored ―Gifts of the Land‖, and about the natural resources in the Pequot‘s environment.

Kids Do! Community Service Action Projects As a group, the camp brainstormed a list of problems related to ―energy.‖ They then choose three problems to address. The problems were raffled to the three different camp groups. These groups were named after renewable sources of energy: Solar, Wind and Water. Each team planned a CSAP but the whole camp participated in each one.

Parachute fun on a home day at camp

WIND TEAM C-SAP: TOO MANY FOSSIL FUELS Youth created posters to go along with their campaign, each designed to teach people about our use of fossil fuels and the impacts on the environment, and the importance of using renewable sources of energy. WATER TEAM C-SAP: ENERGY USE AND OIL SPILLS Youth made and handed out over 100 postcards to teach people about the sources of energy we use and their relation to oil spills.

Kids Teach! At the season-end Public Education Form, claps and shouts echoed as parents and families cheered on campers during their presentations. Youth performed songs and skits created over the course of the summer, and taught the audience about what they learned and accomplished! Continued on top of next page…

Camping at Devils Hopyard State Park

We brought the season to a close with our End of Season Camping Trip filled with camp fire activities, night hikes and star gazing.

Extra Extra!!!!!! This year the campers organized their own fundraiser. Youth had a friendly competition and raised $350 for our Camping Trip. Also, at camp each day we recognize three youth for doing something positive through our ―magical beads.‖ We called the youth up in front of the whole camp and mentioned what they did, then hand-

Mariam and Jen canoeing the Mill River

ed them a set of madi gras beads.

Youth-led Appreciation This year, camper Tyriq Jones, completely on his own, suggested ―we campers should give magical beads to the staff.‖ Greatly touched by his suggestion, the staff let him run with it. Each week he would choose fellow campers to recognize three staff members for doing something extra-special.

“Too much oil will cause our earth to spoil. Solar, wind and water will make our world better. City Seed is full of energy!!! C-SAP was very fun, even if there was a lot of sun. People were nice, people were rude, but that didn‟t change our mood “

This was completely youth driven and will remain as part of our

-Camper’s poem for end of season Public Education Forum

Kylir and Kezlyn Explore Outer Island with SCSU Environmental Education Dept.

n December 23rd at 6pm, Executive Director Joanne Sciulli took a call that 7 months later turned into a playground. The group Kaboom!, who build playgrounds across the country, was looking for a neighborhood in New Haven for their next project, and cold-called Solar Youth after an internet search. The Housing Authority of New Haven quickly jumped on board. After extensive planning (including consultation from Solar Youth kids!) on a hot July day, nearly 300 volunteers (including residents, youth, Housing Authority staff, and more than 100 Home Depot employees) came together to construct a playground in Westville Manor in 6 just hours. Solar Youth Green Jobs App renti ce Quintell Suggs said, ―I think this park will bring a lot of happiness.‖ Thank you Kaboom! and Home Depot Foundation! Rene Dobos of HANH on Kaboom! Build Day

Rigo chillin’ at Dinosaur Stare Park

ince we founded 10 years ago, young people from Solar Youth have traveled to Boston, Washington, D.C., Ohio, and even Japan. Continuing that tradition, last summer two of our youth, Odessa and Victor, traveled through Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Colorado in an RV camper!! Odessa and Victor had an incredible adventure, made possible by Chris & Lyn Kimberly of American Wanderer Summer Camp and Foundation. The amazing Louise Endel connected us, and we hope to grow this partnership so more youth can explore far beyond the boundaries of New Haven in the future. Thank you Lyn, Chris and Louise! Odessa and Victor at Mt. Rushmore

Solar Youth x Page 11

Service/Adventure Crew is an after-school program in which youth perform a series of service projects that improve their community and environment, and then participate in intensive physical adventures.

Planting day lilies at neighborhood entrance

Working on the Solar Youth Trail in West Rock Park

Tamika after a dandelion collection

The following is a sample of the service projects and adventures from last year:

West Rock Exploration: Youth took numerous hikes in the West Rock area to Lake Wintergreen, Judge‘s Cave, and West Rock Summit. Through them youth became more comfortable with the amazing wilderness surrounding Westville Manor!

West Rock Survival: Youth learned different survival techniques such as fort building, fire making, and keeping warm in cold weather. This knowledge was tested in a final survival challenge where they were presented with different scenarios and asked to use their skills to keep them safe and warm!

Westville Manor Beautification: Youth cleaned up the gardens in Westville Manor, including the area around the neighborhood sign, in front of the Solar Youth office, and the Peace Garden. Vegetable Garden: Youth planned out a vegetable garden and planted seeds in starter pots. When the spring weather finally arrived, youth transplanted the vegetable seedlings into the prepared beds! Solar Youth Trail: In 2009, Service Adventure Crew made a Solar Youth Trail, connecting their neighborhood to West Rock Ridge State Park. But their job wasn‘t complete! The youth continued their work clearing the trail and clipping branches, successfully connecting Wintergreen Avenue to the West Rock Park trail system!

Naya planing flowers near the Solar Youth office

Page 12 x Solar Youth

Litter Campaign: Youth formulated a Westville Manor anti-litter campaign that began with a trash scavenger hunt and included litter clean-ups, posters, and letters to their neighbors. Night Exploration: As the days grew shorter, youth took the opportunity to explore the nighttime ecosystem. They faced their fears and spent time in the forest telling stories, playing games, and observing the creatures that came out at night!

Field Reclamation Youth set out to take back the field that they play in every day, which has traditionally been the most littered in Westville Manor. They engaged in multiple trash pick-ups and painted signs imploring their neighbors to respect the environment and their play-space.

Community Appreciation: The Youth engaged in several projects aimed at appreciating the communities that they are a part of, including making a package for soldiers serving abroad, thank-you cards for parents and teachers, and baking sweets for a local soup kitchen! Leaf Identification: The youth hit the trails and raced through a scavenger hunt that required they identify five different trees that grow in the West Rock area by shape and color of their leaves.

Crew members with all the garbage collected around tbe edge of their field

At the end of every season, the kids in our programs teach what they have learned and accomplished throughout the season at a Public Education Forum (or as we say, PEFs). They write songs and raps, perform skits, puppet shows, make videos and posters—a diversity of media. Through PEF‘s, youth practice public speaking and artistic expression while being recognized by friends, family and FOSY for their good works.

We hope to see you at one this year!!

Clockwise from top left: Intern Troy leading Martinez Steward Team skit; Family and FOSY (including Eliza Halsey) cheer youth on; Jailyn from Martinez Steward Team sings about saving the planet; Educator Pete accompanies Mustafa as he sings his song about air pollution; Destiny performing her original rap (see below); intern Boomie helping Citycology girls sing about selling cupcakes “for the Yale Children” (see their C-Sap on page 6); Jaylon and Xavier recite the “Service Adventure Rap.”

Solar Youth

Destiny‟s Solar Youth Rap

By Candyce Smith, Citycology Intern

By Destiny Moore Westville Manor Steward Team

Solar Youth, the place filled with Kids, smiles, and fun, Taking trips in the blizzard and the shining sun. 7 youths, 4 interns, 1 educator, We rock the yellow and blue, don‘t be a hater. When you see us, give us a hand shake or hug Because we are against trashing the neighborhood. Who we roll with is the best Because we are always out on a quest. We gonna start off with Joanne You can come in with a frown, and she‘ll Turn it upside down, I bet she can, Next is Beth the boss, She‘ll look out for you and she‘ll never be cross, Then it‘s jolly holly Gammy, Never met nobody who was sillier than me,

Our name is Solar Youth We live in the hood But you know it‘s all good Cause we live near the woods. We follow the blue path Yes, it‘s a new path. We have a nature center, We chill with the interns. I love the West River, It gives me the shivers! I see lots of deer, They‘re close and they‘re near! Chillin‘ with Pete, Hallie Ben and Tally Reduce, reuse, recycle,

Then it‘s my favorite Amanda, please The kindest heart that you will ever meet, You know there‘s not a program without Hallie, The coolest, craziest educator, acts like me, Melissa, the shy acting one, but very funny And outgoing, You can‘t walk home from program without Her knowing, Finally it‘s my buddy Candace, that‘s my Payroll so you know I‘m rolling with her Posse.

Solar Youth x Page 13

Candace Jones is Solar Youth‘s intrepid Office Manager. Since 2009, she has worked tirelessly to make sure our finances are well managed, computers function, staff get paid and the office runs smoothly. Because of Candace‘s efforts, our frontline educators can focus on supporting our youth and directors can work on strategic planning and growth. Her connection to our work, however, is personal. ―Growing up in foster care in Westville Manor [where our office is located] gave me firsthand insight into the needs of our youth. When I was growing up here, there was simply nothing for kids to do. Programs like Solar Youth didn‘t exist. ― Candace joined Solar Youth after owning her own downtown New Haven business (Claire Jones Boutique) and working in NYC‘s fashion industry. ―It has been a dream of mine to give back in a direct

Under the leadership of Martin Torresquinterro, the Ranger Program of New Haven Parks Department has greatly enhanced the experiences of our young people since our founding. In 2010, Ranger Wray Williams led reptile and amphibian programs at the West Rock Nature Center where youth got to see a live feeding of crickets to the frogs. Ranger Joe Milone taught youth to be expert animal trackers. We had citywide campfire trips and night hikes on Nature Center grounds with support from Ranger Chris Guerette who taught kids astronomy. At Edgewood Park, youth learned tree identification with Ranger Harry Coyle. In the summer we visited Lighthouse Point Park where Ranger Terry McCool led a touch tank program about species of the Long Island Sound. And at East Rock Park Festivals, Ranger Dan Barvir provides us with bird watching resources. The Parks Department also provides canoe trips adventures on the Mill River! For many youth, it is their first time on a river! Thanks for

your incredible support Park Rangers!

Michelle Berglund, Ciara Chally, Erin Costa, Jennifer Deleon, Mary Erwin, Chermele Gordon, Hannah Hallissey, Brett Kernstock, Kayla Kernstock, Emily Klebanoff, Barbara Knowz, Ben Michalak , Mike Mildrum, Sharon Oates, Ray Nardella, Stephanie Waryasz

Page 14 x Solar Youth

way‖ she said. ―Solar Youth has given me the opportunity to do just that. Working here furthers my belief that children are strong and resilient.‖ In addition to working full time, Candace is earning her BA from Albertus Magnus College. We‘re so grateful for her genuine commitment to the work of Solar Youth, her integrity, compassion, fabulous style, and her commitment to helping us continuously seek excellence!

Thank you Candace!

There are good volunteers, and then there are great volunteers. Ben Michalak has been a great volunteer, giving 50 hours of his time in the fall of 2010. He jumped on board to Service Adventure program, coming once a week to mentor youth as they went hiking, made crafts, and improved their environment. Ben continued into the winter season, allowing deep connections to form between him and our youth. Having him here means that we have one more positive adult role model in the room; it means that we can split into teams more easily; it means that we can have more one-on-one time with our youth. On behalf of the staff and the youth, we thank Ben for his time and commitment, and we are very excited to have him join us this spring as part-time staff!

Bethany Observatory, City Seed, Citywide Youth Coalition, Community Action Agency, Community Mediation, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, CT Department of Environmental Protection, CRRA Garbage Museum in Stratford, Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, East Haven Landscape Products, Eli Whitney Museum, General Electric, Housing Authority of New Haven, New Haven Department of Parks and Recreation, New Haven Dept. of Traffic, Transportation & Parking, New Haven Holocaust Memorial, New Haven Museum and Historical Society, New Haven Public Schools, Schooner, Inc., United Illuminating Company, West River Neighborhood Services Corporation, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Cedar Tree Foundation CT Department of Social Services New Haven Public Schools U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services CT State Office of Policy and Management Samuel and Helene Soref Foundation Tauck Foundation Perrin Family Foundation Community Foundation for Greater New Haven William and Jean Graustein, United Way of Greater New Haven, Watershed Fund, Lewis G. Schaeneman Foundation, Citizens Charitable Foundation, United Illuminating, Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Netter Family Fund, NewAlliance Foundation, People‘s United Community Foundation, Captain Planet Foundation, George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation, Trailblazer, Patagonia, Anna Fitch Ardengini Trust, Pew Charitable Trusts Singer/songwriter Jack Johnson‘s Ohana Foundation matched $2,500 of donations to Solar Youth last summer, and donated concert tickets to his CT concert, where we spread the good word about Solar Youth, and meet Jack himself! Thanks, Jack!

ENGAGE with our youth on our NEW


We are developing a new, interactive site that not only tells you who we are and what we do, but gives opportunities to get involved, spread the word and support the work of New Haven‘s amazing youth. You can...

Give feedback about youth projects on the blog

Re-post youth accomplishments on Facebook and Twitter

Learn about volunteer opportunities (like weekend hiking trips)

Donate to support our work, and more!

FRIENDS OF SOLAR YOUTH Mark Abraham, Janet & Joe Ambrose, Mark Aronson, Aviv & Corinne Aviad, Tracy Babbidge, Sherill Baldwin & Kimball Cartwright, David & Kristen Bechtel, Cordalie Benoit, Stephanie Bergman, Robert Bettigole, Richard Blaylock, Keely Boyer, Nancy Boyer, Pamela Boyer, Tyler Boyer, Lucy Brakoniecki, Lisa Brandes, Zoe & Alastair Brookes, Brian Brown, Claudia Brown, Josiah Brown, Gordon & Alisa Brown, Norman & Elaine Brown, Frank Bruckmann & Muffy Pendergast, David & Lisa Bruhn, James Bruno & Bill Gratz, John Buell & Beth Rosen, Thea Buxbaum & Gar Waterman, Audrey Buxbaum, Diane Buxbaum, Guido & Anne Calabresi, Penny Canny, Mitz Carr, David Casagrande, Center for Orthopaedics, John Champion & Wendy Samberg, Star Childs, Kieran Coleman, Peter & Diana Cooper, Casey Cordes & Kary Strickland, Robin Cunningham, Diane Daskal & Harvey Ruben, Che Dawson, Jennifer Deakin, Anthony DeNicola, Barbara DeNicola, Jenna DeNicola, Joseph DeNicola, Lorraine DeNicola, Evelyn Diaz, William Doheny, Bill & Suzanne Duesing, Andy & Eileen Eder, Keith Eisenstadt, Deborah Elkin, Susan Epstein, Mats Ericson & Lauri Robbins, John Fallon, Jim Farnam, Dean Fisher & Josephine Robinson, David Floyd and Jacqueline Hines, David & Ursula Fobes, Sharon S. Fortenbaugh, Alyson Fox, Paulette S. Frank, Terry Freeman & Brian Blakeley, Dominic Galardi, Matt & Cass Garrett, Daphne Geismar, Jennifer Gerrick, Chris & Toddie Getman, Heather Gilbert, Karyn Gilvarg & Eric Epstein, Laura Goldblum, Alfred & Irma Gonzalez, Michelle Gottlieb, Bennett & Sharon Graff, Rebecca Gratz, Meg Graustein, Greater New Haven Holocaust Memory, Inc., Adam Green, Mille Grenough, Elizabeth Halsey, Jared Hardner, Richard & Angelica Harter, Francis & Elizabeth Hatch, Jeffrey Hayash & Kim Parent, Kim Healey, Jennifer Heath, David Heiser, Chris Heitmann, Jessica Heringer, Darien Hill, Gretta Hotopp, John Hughes & Pat Dillon, Charisse Hutton, Alison Illick, George Jafferis, Thom Johnson, Emily Jones, Cathy Jones & Mike Schoen, Lisa Jurzyk, Ben Karp, Peter & Meg Kassen, Kelly Keefe, James King, Margot Kohorn, Jo Kremer, John & Judith Kresge, Debra Latourette, Terrence Lavin, Trina & David Learned, Adrain Leighton & Maria Von Der Pahlen, David Lewicki, Christopher Lotspeich, Henry Lord, Henry Lowendorf, Mokshay Madiman, Michelle Maitland, Sherman Malone, Jim Martin & Terry Dagradi, Maureen McCarthy, Robert McGuire & Ilene Crawford, Jane Mellott, G & Penelope Miller, Rebecca Miller, Gwendolyn Mills, Lesley Mills, JoAnne Moore, Leonard Moskowitz, Will Murphy & Claire Corcoran, Phyllis Neiswanger, Ronald Netter, Winifred Nyce, Sara Ohly, Mark & Cyd Oppenheimer, Alison Ormsby, Maryann Ott, Susan Papa, Melanie & Charles Payne, Kristen Phelps & Bob Fitzgerald, Jack & Jane Phillips, Charlotte & John Phillips, Arthur Phillips, Nancy Pine, Dennis & Pat Preziosi, Richard Remnick & Lisa Fernandez, Rick‘s Plumbing Service, Andrew Richardson & Ellen Denny, Cynthia Rojas, Rosalind & Stephen Pendergast, Peterson Brothers, LLC., Suzanne Rosenburg, Andy Ross, Paul Sabin, Taylor Salinardi, Amy Sananman, Elisa Sananman, Lewis G. Schaeneman III, Jonathan Scheuer, Duncan Schmitt, Frank & Barbara Sciulli, Michael & Dina Secchiaroli, Judi Sheiffele, Leigh Shemitz, Claire Shubik-Richards, Ina Silverman, Eleanor Smith, Donald & Cheryl Smith, Donald & Melanie Smith, Timothy Speevack, Richard Stanford, Aleta Staton, Deborah Stewart, Stewart & Suzanne Stringer, Sofia Tecocoatzi, Fahd Vahidy, Melissa Vantine, Josiah & Martha Venter, Janna Wagner, Kate Walton, Glenn & Dotty Weston-Murphy, Harry Wexler, JoAnne Wilcox, Steve Williams, Winkle Bus, Alissa Wood, Marlene Woodman, George Zdru, Louise & William Zemina, Brian Zuber. BOLD=SUPERFOSY (GIFTS OVER $200) UNDERLINE=BFF-BEST FRIEND FOSY (5+ YEARS OF GIVING)

Solar Youth x Page 15

Solar Youth In Their Words… "Because of Solar Youth, I know more about the environment and I feel confident while helping others." "Because of Solar Youth, I made new friends."

53 Wayfarer Street New Haven, CT 06515 (203) 387-4189

―My favorite part of Solar Youth is the teachers. They are respectful to us and they help us when we need it and they show us that they love us.‖ ―I can communicate in two different ways – on the street I use words like !@#$% and $%&.

In Solar Youth I use words like „exquisite.‟”

From Parents… "Doing the C-SAP helped my child to communicate better with other people and also to be even more outgoing."

"[My son] has the knowledge now to take responsibility for his actions. He knows that turning off the lights, and taking shorter showers reduces his carbon footprint."

"Leandra loves Solar Youth. She has fallen in love with nature."

Solar Youth's 2010 Year-in-Review Newsletter  

Overview of Solar Youth and highlights from 2010.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you