April 26, 2010
Having met Solar Youth's founding executive director (Joanne Sciulli) eight years ago, I have followed the organization's work ever since. Integrating environmental and civic education with a caring, safe, supportive setting in which young people assume increasing responsibilities and leadership roles, Solar Youth is a tremendous asset to the New Haven community. Impressed by its sustained offerings and accomplishments, I have been pleased for years to contribute financially to its operations -- one of many small-scale donors who appreciate how much this nonprofit delivers on a modest budget.
My most personal connection to Solar Youth has come through a young man I've mentored, now in 10th grade, who has been part of the organization since I met him when he was a 6th-grader. His maturity, social and verbal skills, environmental awareness and general sense of responsibility have grown in significant measure through his affiliation with Solar Youth. Through a collaboration involving it and the Urban Resources Initiative, he also obtained a job planting trees here in New Haven, an assignment that further fostered his knowledge of natural resources while giving him teamwork and work experience.
Though youth development is not my area of professional expertise (which involves school-university partnership in development of teachers), I do have some acquaintance with the broader out-of-school field through a research project that a fellow graduate student and I did for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts about a decade ago. With that grounding in the key characteristics of high-quality youth and out-of-school programs, I can say with confidence that Solar Youth is an excellent one. It deserves greater recognition and support.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
the continuing social and academic development of a young man who has been involved in its activities for years.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
look to and learn from the work of its executive director, Joanne Sciulli.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
watching its growth over the eight years since I encountered it and its executive director. Solar Youth has become a pillar of its neighborhood and of New Haven's youth resources more broadly.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
professional and dedicated to young people.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
reach even more young people and presumably track and support more comprehensively the longitudinal results for its graduates and their families.
Ways to make it better...
the organization had additional funding -- but even as it is, Solar Youth is highly effective and valued by families and our city.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
succession in the event its executive director were ever to leave, and funding in an always competitive pursuit of resources.
One thing I'd also say is that...
Solar Youth merits greater recognition both locally and nationally; it's a treasure!
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About once a year
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Donor & I write a check a once a year, and observe the good work of Solar Youth.
Review from Guidestar