20 Years of Support for Area Youth

Program provides critical tools to organizations that serve our young people, enabling organizations to provide safe spaces for youth to grow, test their capabilities and contribute to their community.

What happens when you team a research-based center affiliated with the Yale School of Medicine with a vibrant network of organizations serving New Haven's youth? The result is an experienced and dedicated training center that empowers youth organizations in New Haven and statewide.

Known as the Youth Development Training and Resource Center (YDTRC), this capacity-building initiative started in 1994 as a collaboration between Citywide Youth Coalition and The Consultation Center. Through youth development courses, specialized trainings and ongoing technical assistance, YDTRC supports and unites the diverse organizations serving Connecticut's youth.

YDTRC Director, Deborah Stewart explained the evolution of the organization. "The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven provided critical match support from the very beginning of our founding." She went on to note that ongoing Foundation assistance has, "enabled many folks to take advantage of the YDTRC collaborative training, special projects, mini grants, consultation and more, especially in New Haven, but also across the region and throughout Connecticut."

In addition to training adults to support the unique development of adolescents ages 12-19, the YDTRC inspires youth to use their voices and actions to make a difference.

The Hill Youth Action Team is one of their successful youth engagement projects. Composed of a group of 10-12 high school students in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven, the team proactively works to improve their community by addressing tough issues such as preventing substance abuse and bullying, and encouraging better youth and police relationships. The young leaders involved in this program learn to collaborate with adults, while the adults gain keen insight into the challenges adolescents face.

In celebration of their 20th anniversary, Stewart and her team led a "YOUth Matter" event at Gateway Community College. The event drew over 100 area youth leaders and adult supporters/advisors and included interactive sessions focused on uniting young people and caring adults in order to strengthen New Haven. One participant summarized the impact of the gathering as, "Hearing the stories and experiences from both sides of youth-adult partnerships reminds me what I'm working towards and what is possible."

Did You Know?

According to the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP), "Positive youth development involves civic involvement and civic engagement—youth contribute through service to their communities."

Source: FindYouthInfo.gov