Title: D'Youville College Youth Empowerment Program
Project Director: Benjamin Randle III
Project Amount Funded (FY 2006): $249,224
Target Population: African American and Hispanic/Latino Youth, Grades 5-6
The mission of the D'Youville College Youth Empowerment Program is to address the needs of a cohort of 35 youth, attending D'Youville Campus Porter School, who are at risk of educational failure and/or engaging harmful behaviors by providing them with the skills, inspiration and preparation needed to pursue healthy lifestyles. D'Youville College implements the program in partnership with Catholic Charities of Buffalo, Holy Cross Catholic Church, and D'Youville Campus Porter School (BPS #3). Program activities are conducted at the Holy Cross Catholic Church's youth center. Activities are conducted after school on Monday through Thursday, with weekend activities scheduled throughout the year. A three-week summer program is also conducted at the center. In the academic enrichment component of the project, participants are assessed academically and individualized action plans are developed to increase their level of skills mastery. In addition, participants are provided with daily homework assistance and tutoring, literacy workshops, conflict resolution workshops, and assistance for those studying English as a second language. The personal development component consists of a daily fitness hour, nutrition seminars, disease awareness workshops, and counseling and parenting workshops. Youth also receive instruction in conflict resolution, goal setting/time management, team building/self awareness, and substance abuse prevention. Program participants attend ethnic festivals, theater/stage products, student art exhibits, and musical performances as part of the cultural enrichment component. Youth also create a cultural journal, and receive instruction on multicultural dancing, drumming and drum making. The career development component features: career fairs, career mentoring, and college days, career awareness nights, and parent workshops on financing a college education. Participating youth complete career inventories and are exposed to various careers through monthly presentations. The three-week summer program incorporates academic skills enhancement, career exploration, wellness, and cultural activities. The summer program also provides on-site visits to local businesses and features community speakers. D'Youville College undergraduate students serve as tutors and mentors for the participants. Besides addressing the needs of the participating youth, the program includes activities designed to empower the parents to become partners and advocates for their children's success.