Volume 8 2008 Year-in-Review
NEIGHBORHOOD MODEL TAKES ROOT
etween 2006 and 2008, Solar Youth doubled its program enrollment to over 800 youth. This growth was made possible by the generous support of donors listed on page 11. In 2008, we continued our city-wide programs including Steward Teams (page 4), run in partnership with New Haven Public Schools, Housing Authority of New Haven and Mutual Housing, Inc., as well as Citywide Steward Summer Camp (page 6).
Solar Youth works with every 2nd through 5th grade student at Barnard Environmental Science Magnet School in our HOLA: Hands-on Outdoor Learning Adventure program (page 5).
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Rebecca Gratz Chair
Aviv Aviad Treasurer
Kieran Coleman Secretary
Joe Denicola Nicole Dunnaville Youth Member
Javaughn Harris Youth Member
Norris Haynes Rachel Hereema
New programs were designed to create opportunities for youth we were not reaching— specifically, adolescent boys through Leadership Training Institute and Spoken Word (page 9). Also, children ages 4 to 8 through Cityc ology (page 3). We expanded youth employment and leadership development for teens with CACTUS and GreenSkills (in partnership with Urban Resource Initiative; page 7).
The majority of our growth came through the Neighborhood Model Pilot — the I AM SOLAR YOUTH product of our 2007 straThrough the programs you will read about in tegic plan. The vision of I am a place for youth the Model is based on these pages, Solar I am a place of fun the belief that to truly Youth worked with make a difference in the I am a place of peace over 68% of the lives of youth, there I am a place to be free children between needs to be consistent I am a place to be me contact. The accumulaages 4 and 18 in I am Solar Youth tion of opportunities and the Westville Manor supports throughout a By Devante Pratt community. young person’s adolesintern for Spoken Word program cence can create a According to youth significant impact on his Nehemiah Watkins, in his testimony to or her development, increasing the State Appropriations Committee, chances for living a successful, happy Solar Youth “has helped me recognize life. With the Neighborhood Model, what I am in the world for – achieving Solar Youth becomes one consistent my goals, getting a good education, element in young people’s and their and being a good citizen. At Solar community’s lives. Because of our Youth, I am learning how to be a posiestablished presence in the Westville tive leader in my community. I know a lot of kids who have gotten into serious trouble, and a lot more who will if Solar Youth goes away.”
Teniya, Asia, Jalana and Kiara enjoy a rainy spring hike through Sleeping Giant State Park.
Tenaiya helps clean-up the woods along Wintergreen Brook around her neighborhood.
In 2009 Solar Youth has three primary tasks: (1) envision and plan how to replicate the Neighborhood Model in other New Haven neighborhoods; (2) build our capacity as an organization to grow; and (3) raise the resources necessary to support growth.
Shakila McKnight Youth Member
Donald Smith Joanne Sciulli Kate Walton
Public Ally Michael and youth leaders during a camping trip in Massachusetts.
Manor neighborhood, we chose it as our pilot location.
see our 2008 accomplishments and how
We encourage you to become a part of this work!! See page 11 for ways you can help. x
Westville Manor Youth meet with Mayor John DeStefano to express their concerns about homelessness as part of their C-SAP project.
Kids Explore! Kids Do! Kids Teach!
2008 Adult Staff Joanne Sciulli EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Evelyn Diaz OFFICE MANAGER
Gameliel Moses PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Last year, 124 individuals donated to Solar Youth. Of these, 17 are what we call Super FOSY (donations over $200). But this year we created a new category— BFF’s, or Best Friend FOSY. The 24 FOSY underlined on page 11 have donated for at least 5 our of our 8 years! We wanted to recognize those individuals who have made Solar Youth a consistent part of their annual giving. As Jasmine’s testimony to the Connecticut Legislature’s Appropriations Committee below states, consistent and reliable support is an essential element of what Solar Youth strives to provide to the youth we work with. And this work is fueled by the support we receive from people like you. We invite you to be a part of what you read in these pages by renewing your support, or by becoming a FOSY today. Thank you!
Elizabeth Studley PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Jessica Heringer ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATOR
Zeny Pfisterer ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATOR
Kelly Misiak ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATOR
Maggie Dressel ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATOR
Vanessa Kauffman ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATOR
Jasmine Webb’s Testimony State of Connecticut General Assembly February 18th, 2009 I’m 20 years old and I’ve been a part of Solar Youth since 2000 - as a participant, a staff person and a board member. Solar Youth has been such a positive, consistent and reli-
able influence in my life and the life of my whole family. Right now my 2 sisters are in New Hampshire on a 4 day training retreat. Solar Youth is a program committed to teaching youth about the environment, but it also helped me develop my public-speaking skills, leadership ability, responsibility, dedication and hard work. Solar Youth has opened
my eyes to the woman I can be. I not only learned about myself and nature, I learned about my community and how I can make a difference. We greatly encourage you to continue to support our important work.
2008 Youth Staff Marquise Aponte Taleequa Arrington Ruhona Barno Daryl Belton Karen Brackeen Gregory Brockenberry Whitney Brockenberry Asti Butler Ebony Caldwell Nicole Caldwell Celina Dicepola Nicole Dunnaville Jermale Foster Camika Graham Norman Harrison Jamika Henry Jorell James Arthur Mabry Mary Maysonet Markita McCrea Luquaia Melton Tywana Mitchell Walter Mitchell Khaleeya Payne Devante Pratt Kaimesha Robinson Ronisha Saucier Troy Smith Leshae S. Sparks Naomi Velez Natasha Velez Nehemiah Watkins Barbara Watley Rodnesha Williams-Green
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.
outh Teach Youth! Building on the Citycology program from summer 2006, in 2008 we experimented with new structures. In the spring, we trained and hired 8 teenagers as part of the Neighborhood Model. They taught programs for 21 children from the Westville Manor public housing development ages 4 to 8 about ecology, the water cycle and watersheds. In the summer, teens co-facilitated a five-week summer camp. In the fall, we hired long-time Solar Youth participant and high school senior Nicole Dunnaville to continue developing the program in order to implement it in spring of 2009. She used this experience as an independent study for her studies at the Sound School. The following is her final report.
Intern Arthur reads to youth at Citycology Summer Camp.
By Nicole Dunnaville
any 17-year-olds are not able to say that they got the chance to run an after-school program for young children. Last year, I did! For the fall season of 2008 in Solar Youth, I got the chance to help run and teach Citycology with the guidance of adult staff Beth Studley. Citycology is an after school program for youth ages 4 to 8.
With any big project comes challenges. I have worked with older youth in Solar Youth
since I was a freshman. It took me a while to learn the do’s and don’ts of that age group. I am able to stand up in front of them and have no problems at all. How ever, working with the younger children was harder for me. Bringing the lessons down to their level was one of my biggest challenges. I knew how to explain them to older Citycology interns and participants enjoy a spring hike at Lake Wintergreen. youth, but explaining the same lesson to the younger kids was discovered what happens to Fred when peohard. Also, I had a tough time with the curple pollute his habitat. For their C-SAP, the riculum and knowing realistically what I would youth decided to do a clean up of Winterbe able to get done. As time went on I realgreen Brook by their homes. ized what we would be able They seemed to like it; particito get through and what I pant Rakema was mad that we should keep for next time. had to stop cleaning up at the Behavior management was end of the day. In the end we also a little challenging. The collected 9 bags of trash, 2 first day was pretty tough. I lampshades, 2 tires, brooms, a was not used to dealing with drum and some sneakers. younger children. Every day I Going into this I didn’t think I was creating something new was going to have as much fun to challenge youth to be on as I used to have with the older their best behavior. For examkids. In fact I told Beth that I ple, I handed out a marble in liked the older kids better for the the beginning of every profirst week or so. As time went gram. Youth were instructed to on, the little kids grew on me. I keep the marble in their pockcan actually say that I had a lot ets and if they were not on Robert rests on a rock during a hike more fun with them. They always through Wintergreen Brook. their best behavior they would had something to say to make have to give it back to me. They were able to me smile. I can say that this season I was truly earn more than one marble a day, which challenged and I like being challenged. I made them excited about being on their had a lot of fun and wouldn’t change it for best behavior. anything in the world! Community Service Action Project (C-SAP) This season, the Citycology youth got the chance to do their first ever Community Service Action Project or C-SAP. Instead of going though Solar Youth’s regular 9-step process, I cut it down to five simple steps: 1. What’s in our community? 2. Identify all the problems we see. 3. What should the solution be? 4. Get to work like busy bees! 5. Now let’s talk about it over a cup of tea!
Nicole and parent volunteer Carol Suggs led youth to the summit of West Rock on a foggy fall day.
We learned about water pollution and spent time talking about its effects, including an activity called “Fred the Fish,” in which we followed an imaginary fish down a river and
Citycology Summer Camp
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Steward Teams are after-school programs run in collaboration with NEW HAVEN PUBLIC SCHOOLS and COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATIONS. Following the model Kids Explore! Kids Do! Kids Teach!, adult educators and high school interns guide youth through community and science explorations, the Community Service Action Project (C-SAP) cycle and in creating a Public Education Project. Below are highlights from each Steward Team.
Spring Steward Teams
Mutual Housing George Street: Participants baked 75 homemade dog biscuits and collected 13 used blankets to donate to the New Haven Animal Shelter.
Fall Steward Teams
Truman School: Concerned about the well-being of stray animals in their community, youth collected blankets and food for the New Haven Animal Shelter.
Westville Manor: Youth removed 30 large bags of trash from the woods behind the housing development and over 200 pounds of discarded large furniture. John Martinez School and Barnard School: Both teams collected canned goods, blankets and diapers for Life Haven, a transitional shelter for women and children.
Hill Central: Youth created first-aid kits for the homeless at Columbus House EmergencyShelter. Westville Manor: Concerned about the upcoming winter and the fate of homeless people in New Haven, youth met with Mayor DeStefano to advocate for the needs of the homeless and made educational posters.
Truman School: Youth revitalized two over-
John Martinez School (5th Grade):
grown plots behind their school and planted 63 flowers to beautify their community.
John Martinez School (4th Grade): Youth created posters encouraging people to end the abuse of wild and domestic animals.
Youth addressed the problem of water pollution in their community by cleaning up their schoolyard to prevent litter from getting into storm drains and cleaning up the banks of the Quinnipiac and Mill rivers at Criscuolo Park.
Hill Central: Youth planted four beds of flowers and added fresh compost to revitalize their schoolâ€™s courtyard.
Mutual Housing Poplar Street: After realizing that youth have nowhere close to play, participants advocated with development managers for a basketball hoop in their community.
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Barnard School: Youth worried about the harmful effect litter in West River Memorial Park could have on the many animals that use the park as a stopover habitat. They cleaned up seven bags of trash (including one tattered tent!), five bags of recyclables and one shoebox full of broken glass!
Mutual Housing George Street: Concerned about the effect smoking has on peopleâ€™s bodies and the environment, youth cleaned up 1,432 cigarette butts in their community and created a book with pictures and information about why smoking is harmful.
The Nature Center at West River Memorial Park provides an exciting new setting for Solar Youth’s HOLA program! In our 3rd year with Barnard School, HOLA is Solar Youth’s in-school program that compliments Connecticut Science Standards with experiential learning. Every 2nd through 5th grade student (over 225 youth!) attends HOLA. Students and teachers alike enjoy the program.
Canoeing Mill River with New Haven Parks Department
“Due to lack of time, we do not get to do a lot of hands-on activities – HOLA program provides this. Students learn that science can be fun!” - Ms. Merriam, 2nd grade teacher
Students play “Every Tree for Itself,” a game that teaches that trees need nutrients, water, and sunlight to survive.
soybean oil, and other ingredients needed to make some of their favorite foods. Afterwards, youth staged a hunger banquet at Yale’s Afro-American Cultural Center to introduce local community members to the issue of global hunger.
Each year during April school vacation, Solar Youth runs a three-day program where youth focus on one theme as they Explore! Do! and Teach! This year youth learned about Food Justice and Global Hunger.
DAY 1 - Farm Visit Youth visited Woodbridge Farm in Salem, CT, to learn how organic produce is grown. We explored the farm’s barnyard full of cows, horses, and chickens, as well a nearby forest with vernal pools and wild plants. After helping clear stones from an unplowed field, youth learned how different vegetables are grown and then planted potatoes!
Creating ice cream using coffee cans and their own energy!
and the food pyramid. Youth made placemats for family and friends to share what they learned about food justice and produced their own food – homemade ice cream in recycled coffee cans!
Jumping jacks illustrate the energy used to “plow” the wheat needed to harvest their food.
DAY 3 - Hunger Banquet Using games and experiential learning on the New Haven Green, youth learned how food is made with products from around the world. With a list of ingredients, youth ran from “country” to “country” to gather chicken,
Left: Planting potatoes; Right: Helping with farm chores
DAY 2 - Food Production Youth gathered at Edgewood Park to learn about nutrition and how some food production methods negatively effect people and the environment. Youth learned about the health effects of pesticides, how to harness the sun’s energy to cook food (or s’mores, in this case!), and the importance of nutrition
Above: Youth show off placemats they created.
Harvesting ingredients from “around the world” on the New Haven Green.
Right: Getting up close with the chickens on Woodbridge Farm.
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CSSC unites youth from all over New Haven in an intensive environmental education and youth development program utilizing our Kids Explore! Kids Do! Kids Teach! model. Youth visit locations around Connecticut to learn about the environment and come up with Community Service Action Projects. Building on our 8-year partnership with the New Haven Parks Department (and in an effort to reduce transportation costs), we chose NEW HAVEN PARKS as this summer’s theme.
Campers explore the trails of Dinosaur State Park.
the impact of agriculture on the environment during a visit to Yale’s Organic Farm.
The East Rock Park Team identified litter as a problem in many of the parks they visited during the summer. Youth coordinated a trash clean-up at Edgewood Park and organized a lemonade stand at the park, with proceeds going towards buying clean-up supplies.
e got East Rock, West Rock, Edgewood! Pick it up, clean it up, put it away! Littering is something we don’t do, we got to clean our environment and that includes you!”
The Edgewood Park Team identified water pollution as a problem that affects many New Haven Parks. Youth organized a trash cleanup of the watershed area in Edgewood Park and removed numerous items from the park’s pond.
Summer 2008’s theme was New Haven Parks. Each week educators, interns and campers explored a different topic related to parks through field trips, hands-on lessons, games and visits from guest speakers. Here is a summary of what we did!
KIDS EXPLORE Week 1: Migrations and Habitats: Youth learned the “where’s and why’s” of migration and the importance of West Rock Park as a stopover habitat for migratory butterflies and East Rock Park for migratory birds. Campers explored West Rock, East Rock, the Downtown Farmer’s Market, and Outer Island. Week 2: Fabulous Flora and Fauna: Youth investigated the different plants and wildlife of local parks, paying special attention to native versus invasive species. Youth learned about
messages encouraging people to enjoy what the parks have to offer. They also built and decorated two bird houses, which were donated to the Parks Department.
Khalil tries his hand at seining; Camp fun on Circus Day!
Week 3: Wondrous Waterways: Campers examined the New Haven watershed and learned about point source and non-point source pollution. Youth enjoyed hikes to Lake Wintergreen and Edgewood Park. Week 4: Parks in Time: Campers explored how parks develop over time and change both naturally and through human influences. Youth visited Lighthouse Point Park to learn about Long Island Sound, Hammonasset State Park to learn about the importance of salt marshes, and Dinosaur State Park to learn about the geology of Connecticut.
KIDS TEACH 6th,
On August family, friends, campers, staff, funders and community members gathered at the New Haven Public Library for our Public Education Forum. Cheers and laugher echoed out the doors as campers taught attendees what they learned and accomplished during the summer. Campers presented chants and skits about field trips, service projects and memorable experiences. Youth then headed to Nickerson Park in Chaplin, CT for one last summer memory – an overnight camping trip with Solar Youth!
KIDS DO Campers divided into three teams, each responsible for planning a Community Service Action Project in a specific park that the entire camp then carried out.
Setting up camp at Nickerson Park in Chaplin, CT.
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The West Rock Park Team identified people’s lack of use of the parks as a problem, and planned outreach activities to increase awareness of New Haven’s natural treasures. They designed post cards with pictures and
A group of very happy Solar Youth campers!
COMMUNITY ACTION CREW TEENS UNITED IN SERVICE
his summer we offered teenagers an internship opportunity with our Community Action Crew: Teens United in Service (CACTUS) program. During the five-week program, interns planned, implemented, and evaluated twelve Community Service Action Projects (CSAPs) - all listed below. Youth took on leadership roles, learned problem solving and goal-setting skills, and worked as a team to “make the world a better place.” CACTUS provided teens with the encouragement, skills, and experience they need to develop into positive, informed, and active leaders in their communities.
“I feel that I have made a change throughout the community and I feel proud.” -CACTUS intern L-R: Jessica, Norman, Whitney, Markita, LaShae, Jorell, Jermale, Kelly
Planted 14 plants near the Solar Youth office to stop soil erosion.
Peace & Change
Wrote speeches about human rights issues that interested interns.
Ronald McDonald House
Brought children at Ronald McDonald House educational goody-bags. Learned about public speaking and spoke about the CACTUS internship
Press Conference with Mayor with Mayor of New Haven at his press conference on youth. Visiting the Elderly
Visited a local health organization that provides residential care for adults with mental disabilities.
Stained a deck and landscaped a plot of land behind Sojourner’s Place transitional housing for women.
Visited the Immaculate Conception shelter to cook dinner for the residents using vegetables from the Solar Youth organic garden. Guided families to the farmer’s market in Edgewood Park, where twenty residents received food tokens to try fresh produce at the market
CitySeed Experimenting with Plants
Cleared 50 ft. of invasive rose bushes from Spencer’s Creek nature preserve. Spent the afternoon interacting with residents and learning about the stigma that accompanies being HIV/AIDS positive.
Leeway AIDS House
U.S. Grant Foundation Camp Planned and ran an environmentally-focused field day for 75 youth. Created a 45-second PSA on changing the negative portrayal of teens in the news.
Youth Rights Media
Urban Street Tree Planting employment program in partnership with the Yale/New Haven Urban Resource Initiative
ale/New Haven’s Urban Resources Initiative Community Greenspace program has engaged thousands of volunteers in community-driven planting projects during the past years. In 2008, Solar Youth joined forces with URI to offer a program to our teenaged youth. GreenSkills=GreenStreets is an internship program where teens help improve the city’s canopy by planting trees all over New Haven. From Lighthouse Point Park to Fair Haven to Westville, spring and fall Solar Youth interns formed a team and planted an incredible 25 trees! Under the guidance of Yale School of Forestry students, youth learned about site assessments, species selection, planting procedures and more. “The most rewarding part hasn’t even come up yet,” says GreenSkills intern Troy Smith, “I want to see all of the trees we’ve planted, then that will be the greatest reward.”
“My biggest accomplishment this year was planting the trees. You can step back and look at your hard work and feel proud.” -GreenSkills intern Troy, Greg, Jorell and Devante take a break from planting.
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n October, five youth and two staff members traveled to New Bedford, Massachusetts to attend the "Connecting for Change, Bioneers by the Bay Conference" presented by the Marion Institute. People of all ages and backgrounds gathered for three days to share experiences and ideas and brainstorm practical solutions for some of today's most pressing social and environmental problems. On the third day of the conference, Solar Youth was asked to take the stage and energize the audience! With more than 400 conference attendees, butterflies and nerves were high, but dissipated as the audience got to their feet to participate in the interactive song "Follow the Leader." Solar Youth left the
stage filled with confidence to the sound of roaring applause! In our second year attending the conference, Solar Youth met some of today's most influential environmental justice leaders such as Majora Carter and Van Jones. This year Nicole Dunnaville served Back : Zeny, Jamika, Nicole, Vanessa; Front: Karen, Marquise, Devante on the conference’s Youth Initiative Committee that designed activities “by youth for youth,” to help conferThe conference left Solar Youth’s teen leaders ence planners come up with creative empowered with knowledge, confidence, and innovative ways to explore how young new friends and inspired to help crepeople can make a difference in today's ate positive change in the world. world.
The Westville Manor Service Crew (part of the Neighborhood Model) engages youth in service as they build a connection to Solar Youth. Below is a selection of projects completed during our Spring and Fall 2008 seasons.
Tree Planting for Peace
Planted olive seeds in recycled dog food can “planters” they decorated with photos and quotes about nature and peace.
Built screech owl nest boxes that were hung in the surrounding forests.
Started an organic garden to grow food for residents of the Columbus House Homeless Shelter .
Humane Society Bake-Off
Baked three-dozen dog biscuits for the New Haven Animal Shelter.
Soldier Support Service Crew waves hello while watering our backyard organic garden!
Wrote letters to soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cleaned up 60 feet of graffiti in front of the Solar Youth Office, in coordination with Housing Authority.
Service Crew and Housing Authority staff worked together to clean-up the neighborhood!
Planted more than thirty perennials to stabilize the hill outside the Solar Youth office and prevent additional erosion.
Ronald McDonald Baked two dozen cookies to bring to the Ronald McDonald House in New Haven. House Created a documentary for the presidential candidates on issues
Dear Mr. President they felt were important in the upcoming elections. Columbus House Banquet Jaime strikes a pose during Wintergreen Brook clean-up.
Khalil helps plant flowers to prevent erosion in front of Solar Youth’s office.
Teresa Kramer of Canton Raptor Care brought three captive raptors to visit Westville Manor.
SOLAR YOUTH, INC. x PAGE 8
Visited Columbus House Homeless Shelter to cook pizza for over 70 residents, using herbs and vegetables harvested from our organic garden.
Mock Presidential On election day, youth surveyed their community to see who residents wanted to become President, then created a short Election video to reveal the results (Obama 45, McCain 1). Trash Scavenger Hunt
Explored their community to find as much trash as possible and demonstrate the positive effect humans can have on the environment.
Created homemade good-luck charms to give to someone who they are thankful for in their community.
poken Word Workshop in Westville Manor was a new program that attracted teenage boys and promoted creative forms of expression through art, poems, and acting. Youth raised their social awareness through skits, hikes, and creative activities about facing fears, making positive choices, and achieving goals. Below is a selection of poems written during the program.
TI was a new program this Fall that provided an opportunity for Solar Youth veterans, in their early teens, to take on leadership roles in their community. Youth had primary responsibility for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of Community Service Action Projects. They also traveled to the Blue Hills Reservation in Massachusetts (in partnership with AMC, see page 10) to learn camping, backpacking and outdoor leadership skills. Working on problem solving and goal-setting throughout the program, the young teens of LTI worked as a team to make their world a better place!
Imagine That By Khalil Payne, Jorell James, Xavier Long, Devante Pratt LTI Participants explore the Blue Hills Reservation in Massachusetts with Youth Opportunities Program of AMC.
Don’t drop the trash Because it’s bad IMAGINE THAT Protect the environment From Pollution WE DOIN’ THAT Respect the environment WE DOIN’ THAT Keep it clean And you won’t be mad IMAGINE THAT IMAGINE THAT IMAGINE THAT
Achievement by Jorell James Why are you dudes trying to get bent When you can still attain achievement Somewhere in a college Instead of on your tail in some dumpage You could be getting some A’s off the bat Instead you’re trying to eat some rat I’m on top of my game Everything else is lame If you don't believe Then you wont achieve You all think you can spit All those other grades you can get All of the people waiting on you I'm all good at home with my boo I know that my intellect is true But I wonder, what about you?
Clockwise from LEFT: Students from SCSU archeology class work with Service Crew to recover artifacts in woods behind their development; Jaime and Tati plant peppers in our backyard garden; Teniya and Jalana build a raptor box; Crew cooking pizza for homeless residents of Columbus House; Talizha helps Crew paint over graffiti near SY’s office.
Fall 2008 Reunion Hike—over 70 youth attended!!
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eth came to Solar Youth while earning her Masters in Environmental Education at Southern Connecticut State University. Prior to Solar Youth she was an educator at the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment. A native of CT, Beth now pursues her passion closer to home.
hen SY first moved to the Westville Manor public housing development, one of our first greeters was Jalana Kelley – a 7 year old firecracker who lived three doors down. Since then, she has been a regular fixture in Solar Youth’s world.
alana shows passion for everything she does, and her energy and laughter are infectious. When she first started, she was incredibly fearful of public speaking and would hide behind staff’s legs during our end-of-season Public Education Forum. Today, she is often out in front. She also stars in several of our videos (solaryouthinc.blogspot.com).
eth has become an essential part of the leadership that will bring Solar Youth into its next phase. She combines a passion for working with youth in the urban environment with a high level of professional competency. As Program Director, her responsibilities are vast, including staff support, program development, and outcome measurement.
hen program seasons end, she is not satisfied to wait for the new season to begin, and asks for projects to do around the office. You may be hearing from her, as she has taken on the role of Solar Youth’s official “Appreciator,” writing notes to the generous folks who support our work. There are great things ahead for Jalana, and we are proud to know her!
evante Pratt has been involved in Solar Youth since Spring 2008, when he was a Steward Team intern at Hill Central Music Academy, and has impressed us ever since! While leading the youth through a school grounds beautification project, we recognized his many talents that extend far beyond Solar Youth.
As a Junior ROTC cadet at Hillhouse High School, he learns the basics in history, government, technology awareness and current events. Also a member of the drill team, Devante has chosen a path of self-discipline, confidence and pride in his well-done work. Upon returning to Solar Youth for the Fall season, Devante interned for our new Spoken Word program and shared his creative writing with the youth in Westville Manor. Due to his desire to make a difference in New Haven, he also joined the GreenSkills team and showed leadership and dedication to his city streets. At only 16 years old, we are looking forward to what future talents Devante will share with Solar Youth!
Definition of Racism He is a victim of racism and all forms of discrimination When blacks and the police meet at the same time To the racist you have committed a crime Right now the racism is in its prime Right now the discrimination is in its prime It appears it’s wrong for him to earn his dime Racism does not start When you are aiming low It only starts when you want to grow Creating an atmosphere of hate There is no need to debate Being black and a man is his fate Constant discrimination is forever on his plate.
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eth is also an accomplished pianist and has brought her love of music into our programs, including trips to the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. According to long-time youth leader Nicole D., “Beth knows what has to get done and makes sure it happens! She is always dependable and is willing to help anyone in need!” Thank you Beth for your dedication, humor and excel spreadsheets!!
Appalachian Mountain Club’s
Youth Opportunities Program
his year, Solar Youth connected with the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Youth Opportunities Program (YOP). Based in Boston, YOP offers outdoor leadership and skills training to youth workers. Workshops are taught by veteran youth workers, experienced in leading outdoor trips, who understand the specific needs and challenges of taking groups of youth in the woods. Solar Youth staff experienced the Outdoor Leadership Training (4-5 days of outdoor adventure in the White Mountains of New Hampshire). Through experiential learning, this intensive training built outdoor adventure leadership experience. Through our partnership with YOP, our youth have experienced back-country camping, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing! This winter we will take our youth staff on a four day retreat. Free equipment use, reduced rates at AMC lodging destinations, trip planning assistance, and networking are just a few of the many resources YOP provi des i ts members. As a result of this new partnership, our capacity to provide outdoor adventure experiences to the youth of New Haven has greatly increased. Stay tuned for future adventures! Westville Manor Youth snowshoe for the first time!
Cedar Tree Foundation State of CT Dept. of Social Services New Haven Public Schools Community Foundation of Greater New Haven Carolyn Foundation The Watershed Fund of RWA City of New Haven Housing Authority of New Haven Perrin Family Foundation Helene and Samuel Soref Charitable Fund Annie E. Casey Foundation United Way of Greater New Haven Lewis G. Schaeneman, Jr. Foundation Charter Oak Foundation William and Jean Graustein NewAlliance Foundation Bassler Foundation CFGNH Women & Girls Fund Betsy & Jesse Fink Fund GE Energy Financial Services Sunlight Solar Energy, Inc. Netter Family Fund, Component Sourcing International, Yale Office of New Haven & State Affairs, Gratz Family Foundation, Dalio Family Foundation, Winkle Bus Company
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PERMIT NO. 67
www.solaryouth.org In Their Words... “She likes to do more things for our environment, like pick up trash if she sees it. She tells me, ‘Mom don't litter.’"
“My son's self-esteem has grown a lot. He is more comfortable around others and he has made a lot of new positive friends.” -Solar Youth Parent
- Solar Youth Parent
“Because of Solar Youth, I went to places I would have otherwise never gone to.” -Solar Youth Participant
“The program gave [my son] and I the opportunity to talk about so many different things besides what’s on TV or the radio.” -Citycology Summer Camp parent
“If I could change something about the program, I would make it statewide because I think all kids should be able to participate in a program like this one.” –Solar Youth Intern