Solar Youth's 2005 Year-in-Review Newsletter

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Overview of Solar Youth and highlights from 2005

Text of Solar Youth's 2005 Year-in-Review Newsletter

  • often for the first time. The most chal-lenging part of the summer explained Jaleesa, was transitioning from the youth role to the staff role.

    Staff Training Retreat

    This Fall, adult staff, Steward Team In-

    terns and our Youth Advisory Group

    attended our first overnight training

    retreat. It was a great success, particu-

    larly in terms of the bonding that oc-

    curred among the youth, and be-

    tween youth and adults. We hope to

    repeat this for future training, pending

    funding of course.

    Youth employment is an integral part

    of our programming. It gives older

    youth experience working, provides

    role models for younger children, and

    gives our participants opportunities to

    continue their leadership develop-

    ment.

    According to Sharnice Brooks, working

    for Solar Youth gave me an opportuni-ty to have responsibility and also learn

    at the same time. Xavier Miller adds that you get to learn about others and learn more about yourself.

    E ach Friday afternoon, teenagers trickle into the office for their weekly staff meeting. There are smiles and jokes, laughter and chatter.

    The meeting opens with an Intern lead-

    ing a new game, then the Interns and

    adult Team Educators discuss their

    Roses and Thorns for the week, talk-ing about their successes and chal-

    lenges. After a brief introduction to

    new curriculum, the staff break off in

    pairs to prepare for the next weeks program.

    Friday staff meetings are only one

    component of our youth employment

    program. Solar Youth hires youth year-

    round from high schools throughout

    New Haven. Each undergoes a rigor-

    ous hiring process that includes an

    application, interview and references.

    In 2005, Solar Youth trained

    and hired 15 high school

    students as leaders. This was made possible through support from

    Empower New Haven. Since our

    founding, we have employed over fifty

    youth.

    During an intensive staff training, Interns

    learn about ecology, youth develop-

    ment, team-building, behavior man-

    agement, as well as Solar Youths hands-on curricula including songs,

    games and chal-

    lenges.

    Our youth employ-

    ment posi tions

    teach job skills es-

    sential for future

    success including

    leadership, respon-

    sibility, and ac-

    c o u n t a b i l i t y .

    Through the oppor-

    tunities they gain,

    and the supports

    provided by caring

    adult supervisors,

    they build essential

    competencies in-

    cluding positive self

    -worth, a sense of

    membership and

    belonging, commu-

    Volume 5

    January 2006 2005 YEAR-IN-REVIEW

    BOARD OF

    DIRECTORS

    Heather Gilbert Chair

    Shakila McKnight Youth Co-Chair

    Maureen McCarthy Treasurer

    Javaughn Harris Youth Co-Treasurer

    Rebecca Gratz Secretary

    Jasmine Webb Youth Co-Secretary

    Chris Cavallaro

    Peter Davis

    Charles Nixon

    Joanne Sciulli

    Kate Walton

    nication skil ls and

    more. Youth must main-

    tain a passing grade in

    all classes to emphasize

    education as a priority.

    We require youth to

    open bank accounts for

    di rect deposi t of

    paychecks, to learn

    money management.

    Summer

    Last summer we hired 3

    Senior Interns (ages 15-

    16) and 3 Junior Interns

    (14). All Junior Interns

    (Luquaia, LeShea and Angelica) were

    past Solar Youth participants. This was

    Senior Intern Jaleesa Freemans 6th summer with us!

    Both groups

    gained experi-

    ence develop-

    ing and imple-

    menting lesson

    plans, executing

    daily responsi-

    bilities and cul-

    tivating healthy

    peer relation-

    ships. Youth participants were excited

    to learn about new subjects from other

    youth just a few years their senior.

    Much of the youths learning comes from being in positions of leadership,

    William is a freshman at Common Ground

    High School, as well as a resident of

    Westville Manor. He was one of our first

    Stewards in 2001, and was with us for three

    seasons. He joined us again in the Fall of

    2005 as an Intern for our Neighborhood

    Steward Teams. We now watch him lead

    the same kinds of activities he used to

    p a r t i c i -

    pate in!

    At school, he also volunteers at

    the Downtown Evening Soup

    Kitchen, and at his former ele-

    mentary school, reads to chil-

    dren and helps them with their

    homework. Will Will has a

    William at NST in 2001

    William mentoring Steward

    Staff, Interns and YAG at fall 2005 retreat in Branford, CT

    Intern Xavier with a

    Westville Manor youth

    Youth Employment and Leadership By Rosana Garcia

    INSIDE learn about our 2005

    accomplishments and how

    Kids Explore! Kids Do!

    Kids Teach!

  • 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.

    2005 Adult Staff

    Joanne Sciulli

    EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

    Hanifa Washington

    DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION

    Rosana Garcia

    PROGRAM MANAGER

    Stephanie Bergman

    PROGRAM DIRECTOR (SPRING)

    John Forte

    SCA INTERN

    Kendall Applewhite

    SPRING PUBLIC ALLY

    Gamaliel Moses

    FALL PUBLIC ALLY

    Danny Carrillo

    TEAM EDUCATOR (SPRING) YALE COLLEGE

    Brandi Collander

    TEAM EDUCATOR (FALL) YALE SCHOOL OF FORESTRY AND

    ENVIRONMETNAL STUDIES

    2005 Youth Staff

    Javaughn Harris

    YAG COORDINATOR

    INTERNS

    Sharnice Brooks

    Angelica Bryant

    Lakisha Catlett

    Jaleesa Freeman

    Tamira Jones

    Tiffany McCrea

    Luquaia Melton

    Xavier Miller

    Andrea Moore

    Candace Morrison

    Jody Ann Purcell

    LeShea Sparks

    Adrienne Toney

    William Winfrey

    Its officialwe turned 5!! This newsletter gives a taste of our years activities and accomplishments, made possible by our generous supporters. However,

    we continue to struggle to stay alive financially. Seed funds got us off the ground. We are now seeking sources of support we can count on year after

    year. This is one of our main objectives in 2006to strategize ways to become financially sustainable. This work will happen as we continue to provide unique

    opportunities for New Havens youth, and demonstrate the power of positive youth development.

    About 11 percent of our income last year, or $30,000, came from F.O.S.Y. Friends of Solar Youth - individuals who made our work one of their giving priorities. This income is an essential part of our financial survival. Therefore,

    whether you are an individual, parent, youth or business, a past, current or

    future F.O.S.Y., we encourage you to join us in the new year. Thank you in

    advance for your support.

    Sincerely,

    Joanne Sciulli

    Executive Director

  • SOLAR YOUTH, INC. PAGE 3

    Solar Youth Goes to

    Japan! BY NICOLE DUNNAVILLE, YAG

    If Javaughn and I could name this

    once in a lifetime experience, we

    would call it JAPAN: LOST IN TRANSLATION,

    for the simple reason that it was really

    a different world from where we live.

    This summer we got to go to Japan for

    the United Nations 2005 Childrens World Summit for the Environment. This

    conference went from July 26th to 29th,

    held in Aichi, Japan. The mission was to

    bring together children from all over

    the world to discuss important environ-

    mental issues and air their own con-

    cerns on the state of the environment

    on both local and global levels.

    The Summit didnt just get served to us on a silver platter. First we registered

    online and wrote an essay. When we

    heard we were accepted, we got

    down to business. We wrote a proposal

    to the International Coalition for Chil-

    dren and the Environment and asked if

    they could help us fulfill this once and

    a lifetime opportunity. We also ran

    Operation Can Angel (where we

    asked people if they can save their

    cans so we can turn them in for mon-

    ey), Yale Employee Support Campaign

    (Javaughns mother asked coworkers for donations). Nicoles mom asked different local businesses for donations.

    Dominic Gilardi from A1 Toyota, Kathe-

    rine Owens, Yale Office of New Haven

    and State Affairs and other individuals

    made the trip possible!

    We headed to

    the New Ha-

    ven Public

    Library to study

    before our big

    day about the language

    and culture.

    Chris Cavallaro

    showed us

    how to eat the

    food.

    The day we left

    we headed to

    JFK, where we

    said our good-

    byes. This was

    Javaughn and my first plane ride. We

    were very excited but nervous at the

    same time. It lasted 13 long hours, but

    it was all worth it.

    The conference was packed full. Each

    day had a theme, for example one

    day we focused on water and the

    next on energy. We had trips and

    workshops based on those themes.

    Workshops we attended were Chil-