The CITY Project
The Community Improvement Through Youth (CITY) Project uses Youth Community Action, a Cornell Cooperative Extension Signature Program, as a model for promoting civic engagement, workforce preparation, and asset development among youth (13-18 years old) in New York State’s Children, Youth and Families At Risk (CYFAR) Project. Using a broad-based community collaboration approach, the CITY Project is working in Broome County and New York City to empower at-risk youth to become community change agents. CITY Teen Leaders identify issues in their community through community mapping and the use of technology to set achievable goals and work with caring adults to create lasting, sustainable changes in their communities. During summers, the CITY Teen Leaders gain job skills through paid employment.
This past July, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and City of Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan helped kick off the summer employment season in Broome County. Mayor Ryan explained that Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds were being used to employ at-risk young people in green jobs, including work on community gardens and neighborhood clean-ups. By helping educate the community about ways to use fresh produce, the CITY Teen Leaders are focusing on ways to combat childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles among the families in the inner city.
Sen. Gillibrand explained, “The partnership between the CITY Project’s summer youth employment program and the City of Binghamton is a model for how a community can come together to create jobs for our children while taking aggressive action to combat child obesity. By improving access to fresh produce to communities in Binghamton, we can give people the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives, save billions in health care costs, and create good-paying jobs.”
In New York City, the CITY Project Teen Leaders at the Central Queens YM & YWHA developed, coordinated, and conducted the Let’s Get Physical: Teen Sports Tournament and Health Fair. Their goal was to help young people in the community become more physically active while educating them about ways to improve their overall health.
The CITY Project’s partners in Broome County are Binghamton University’s Liberty Partnership Program and the OASIS After School Program. In New York City, the CITY Project partners are the Central Queens YM & YWHA, Forest Hills and the Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement House, Long Island City.
The CITY Project is funded by the CYFAR Program, 4-H National Headquarters, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Other sponsors include: U.S. Dept. of Education; U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development; U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services; U.S. Dept. of Labor; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); New York State Association of Youth Bureaus; New York City Housing Authority; Binghamton Housing Authority; Police Athletic League; Settlement House System of New York City; New York State Dept. of Labor, Workforce New York, Workforce Investment Act; and New York City Dept. of Youth and Community Development, Summer Youth Employment Program.