Assets Coming Together (ACT) for Youth The Madison County Youth Bureau is one of twelve organizations in New York awarded Assets Coming Together (ACT) for Youth funding from the New York State Department of Health to work with communities to put the principles of positive youth development into practice. Funding began in 2006 and will continue into 2011. Goals ACT for Youth seeks to meet four outcomes: 1. increase opportunities and supports for young people 2. increase youth voice and youth engagement 3. influence organizational changes reflecting positive youth development principles 4. influence organizational changes reflecting positive youth development principles ACT for Youth helps communities create the conditions for young people to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Together with young people, the collaboration builds supportive environments where youth are: • healthy and safe • valued and connected • engaged in positive opportunities • acknowledged as respected partners in decision making • engaged as active citizens. ACT for Youth in Madison County is led by the Youth Bureau in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Department of Health. ACT is guided by the Collaboration for Community Change. What is the Collaboration for Community Change? The Youth Bureau’s Youth Board and youth and adult community members from around the county who support ACT for Youth and are involved in community efforts meet quarterly as the Collaboration for Community Change (CCC). The CCC is the force behind ACT for Youth.
What Does ACT Do? There are so many things that ACT is working on! It is the hope of everyone involved in ACT that the changes made through the initiative are sustained even after the funding is gone. Madison County is a rural county. ACT seeks to work in a new community within Madison County each year, particularly those that are under-served by other agencies and programs. Currently, ACT is working with youth in two communities. ACT seeks to create ACTion Groups, youth adult partnerships working toward addressing community specific youth concerns. In Morrisville, youth are working in coordination with community members, college representatives, and school staff to provide more youth activities. The youth of Morrisville have formed MAY I, Morrisville area Activities for Youth Involvement. MAY I members meet weekly. The group determines the needs of youth in the community and works to create and enhance youth activities. It also seeks to better inform youth of opportunities and supports available to them and reaches out to adults in the community to support its efforts. In Brookfield, students are becoming active in addressing their needs also. Brookfield youth are working to seek out more ways they can participate in decision making locally as well as addressing the needs of an isolated area. Some other areas of work under ACT include: • • • • Preparing youth to present to Madison County organizations on the importance of youth voice and to evaluate those organizations on their ability to put theory into practice Empowering youth to take an active role in working with local and county government regarding youth issues Creating job shadowing and internship opportunities for youth Working with organizations and communities to identify how youth can have input and be included in decision making
What Can Youth Do? Youth can participate in leadership and teamwork activities and meet other youth from across the state who are working to make their communities better. Youth who are active with ACT have been given opportunities to
travel to Cornell University, the State Capitol, the State Museum, the Women’s History Museum, and countless other places. Youth are meeting in their communities to address issues they feel strongly about and are working to gain the support of adults who can help to address these issues. Youth can be a part of community groups. Youth can also be members of the Collaboration for Community Change and share with others their successes and obstacles to gain feedback and support. Youth can participate in job shadowing and internship opportunities. There are a number of locations that youth can learn about careers and see a behind the scenes view of so many different occupations. Youth from both communities have attended the NYS Youth Bureau Youth Leadership Forum in Albany and have met with Assemblyman William Magee and Senator David Valesky about their plans to engage their communities in planning for the future of youth. Youth have worked hard to learn concepts and have trained adults in Advancing Youth Development training. Youth have also worked hard to learn to evaluate area youth serving agencies and have offered their input into how to make agencies more youth friendly. What Can Adults Do? Adults can become members of the CCC. Adults can also offer support to youth within their community. As an adult, you can participate in training on Youth Development and bring the skills you learn back to your home, local school, local government, business, faith group, or organization. How Can I Get Involved? ACT is only made better through the support and input of the Madison County community. ACT is always looking for youth and adults to offer support, to become involved on committees and as trainers, or to join the Collaboration for Community Change. Feel free to contact us! Contact
Tina Louis, Collaboration Coordinator ACT for Youth, Madison County Youth Bureau housed at Madison County Department of Health P.O. Box 605 , Bldg. 5, N. Court St. Wampsville , NY 13163 (315) 366-2361 FAX: (315) 366-2847 email@example.com
What is Positive Youth Development? Positive youth development is a philosophy that guides communities in the way they organize so that young people can develop to their full potential. Communities that adopt a youth development approach emphasize: Positive youth outcomes. Communities help young people build on their strengths, developing the competencies, values, and connections they need for life and work. Youth Voice. Youth are active and equitable partners in youth development initiatives. Strategies involving all youth, not just “high-risk” or “gifted” youth. However, the youth development approach does recognize the need to identify and respond to specific problems faced by some youth. Community collaboration. All sectors have a role to play in making the community a great place to grow up. Long-term commitment. Communities provide the ongoing, developmentally appropriate support young people need over the first 20 years of their lives. http://www.actforyouth.net/ http://www.actforyouth.net/?actCommunities