Central Queens YM & YWHA: Cultivating Civic Responsibility and CreativityEach month, the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence spotlights the work of a STYA provider. Our thanks go to Stacey Levine, who shared this month's ideas.
The STYA program at the Central Queens Y is hosted at the PS/MS 200, the Pomonok School of Flushing, Queens. The program serves a diverse group of students from grades 4-8.
Daily programming includes baking, science lab, homework help, video production, sports, and arts. Students are also engaged in working with a social worker and social work intern in both group and individual settings, where they discuss pertinent "'tween" topics, such as personal hygiene, their changing bodies, self-esteem, social/peer pressure, increased school pressure, and other issues that they feel affect them.
We have found that civic responsibility is an area that draws a lot of attention and passion from the students. Youth are engaged in weekly civic responsibility groups, where students discuss areas in their lives (school, home, community) that they would like to see change. The group explores ways to positively and effectively create change. Taking on leadership roles, learning how to assess an area of need, creating a plan, delegating responsibilities, and executing the plan are areas that the students are learning to master. Current "fundraisers" the students are working on include a winter coat drive for NY Cares and a collaboration with the Central Queens Y to help restore its pantry after the pantry was destroyed in a fire. The students are eagerly promoting their drives within their school community.
An ongoing challenge faced at the program is consistent attendance by the older middle school grades. Video Production, a STEM program that teaches the youth about film creation, editing, set design, acting, and the use of film equipment, is a relatively new program that has dramatically helped increase and stabilize youth attendance. This very hands-on program requires weekly attendance and has been happily welcomed by the students.
Previous SpotlightsThe following documents are in PDF format:
Spotlight 1 - Engaging Youth: Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center
Spotlight 2 - Involving Parents: Niagara Falls Housing Authority
Spotlight 3 - New Experiences: Orange County Youth Bureau
Spotlight 4 - Engaging Youth in STEM Workshops: Mount Vernon Youth Bureau
Spotlight 5 - Connecting Youth to Community: Committee for Hispanic Children and Families
Spotlight 6 - STEM Zombies and Mad Scientists: Boys & Girls Club of the Bellport Area
Spotlight 7 - Collaborating to Build Skills: Metro Council for Teen Potential