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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Fresh Youth Initiatives, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Youth Community Service Clubs, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Fresh Youth Initiatives’ mission is to engage youth in positive, community-building activities while guiding and supporting them through childhood and adolescence. Located in Washington Heights, our programs introduce students to college, careers, and community service while helping them to navigate three key life transitions: immigration, middle school to high school, and high school to college. We envision this community of Latino youth as successful, healthy, lifelong learners with access to post-secondary education and a strong sense of citizenship and self-identity.

Results: Last year, 90% of FYI'ers passed to the next grade level in school; 150 middle and high school students volunteered 16,000 hours of service to their community. 95% of FYI high school seniors graduate and enroll in college.

Target demographics: We support 600 Latino youth to become avid learners, confident leaders, and to succeed on a healthy journey to adulthood.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 500 Washington Heights youth in grades K through 12 by providing academic, cultural, social, and recreational programs and activities.

Geographic areas served: NYC

Programs: (1) The Welcome Program for 120 immigrant/1st generation children in grades K-5 that develops students’ reading and writing skills by engaging them in literacy activities with multicultural and multilingual literature; (2) afterschool programs for middle school and high school students that develop leadership skills while supporting their path to college; (3) Summer Day Camps for grades K-5 and 6-8 that focus on supporting students’ social, emotional and academic development; (4) Summer Job Training for youth ages 16-24

Community Stories

52 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Excellent organization that directly touches kids in the community with services and support. Helping kids who are some of New York's most vulnerable is an invaluable service that makes a real difference in their daily life.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with Fresh Youth Initiatives was a great experience for me and something not to be forgotten. The friendly environment and caring staff made the organization seem more like a second home instead of just an after school program. Without Fresh Youth Initiatives I would not be as respectful and learn to take responsibilities for the things that are important. This organization has been a major impact on who I am today and would recommend it to the youth.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Lourdes Encarnacion and my daughter Angeluna has been going to FYI for 2 years. During her time there she has learned so much! The staff that is supprtive, responsible and teaches the youth how to be a positive role model and leadership skills. FYI as given my daughter opportunities to help people within in the community such as making sleeping bagsbfor the homeless, and volunteering in distributing cans to people in need. This has given my daughter valuable insight on how she can make a difference helping others and learning very early that she has the ability to make a positive change. I truly am very grateful to have an organization that of FYI and will recommend it to anyone!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

FYI was my formal introduction into the world of after schools. It is a welcoming, family environment that makes everyone feel as if they belong. There was always room for creativity and growth for both staff and participants. Youth all over the world need organizations such as these that will provide personal attention and foster growth and community awareness.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hi my name is Sarai Mercado, and I have been in FYI for 2 years. My experience in FYI has been amazing. FYI as been my second home. FYI helps with what i need and when i need it. If I need help in s subject in school and I come to FYI and tell them they right away help me with what ever I need! I when i enter the FYI building I am filled with joy and happiness. Even on a sad day when I enter the FYI building my mood changes and I am happy when I leave the building. Thank You FYI for being the way you are!!!!!!!!

1 Edilenni P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been in Fresh Youth Initiatives for over 3 years now. I have many reason why I still come to FYI. One of the main reasons is because they treat the paricipant likes a family. Another, reason is because I have alot of fun in FYI. A reason I still come to FYI is because I see my friend that don't go to my school. Another reason, is because I enjoy being here.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

my experience started when i was 10 years old and i love it, i never thought that i will love fyi so much. Fyi is a part of my heart and i will never leave fyi because i will feel like i am betraying my family. This is the best program i ever had been. i wish i could spend more years here.!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I been in Fresh Youth Initiatives for 3 years. Its been a pleasure being here. I love coming in everyday because your always welcomed here and its like a family. Ive learned so many things here. We get to experience new things and travel to so many places.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Enmanuel Portes and I have been with for about 7 years now, I originally found out about FYI through my older brother, he introduced me to the program and had always told me about how he had so much fun and had some very amazing experiences. So as soon as I met the age requirement I decided to join the Summer Camp and after school programs, and ever since I have fallen in love with FYI. I continue coming to FYI because whenever I come here I always have a fun time and I really enjoy myself now matter what we do, everything from playing UNO with other participants or just having conversations with the Boys Group. Also I have a fun time doing community service, whenever we do service and people notice our good acts it gives me a very satisfying feeling and lets me feel as though I truly am making a difference to my community.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been with FYI for 3 years now and I have been enjoying everyday of FYI. FYI has taught me not be shy and to be outspoken. The reason I keep coming to FYI is because if I don't come I feel like I'm leaving my other family. FYI is a big part of my life now. My FYI experience cannot be told in a summary.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is my 4th year in Fresh Youth Initiatives i come to FYI because i like when they treat us like family. They help us with our homework,with school and more stuff. They do something that others program don't do like treat us like we were there own son and daughter they tell us the right thing to do not the bad. FYI taught me so many things that helped me get to where i am right now.They like my second family.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FYI taught me so many lessons that helped me get to where I am today. I learned about humility and being thankful for what I have. I learned that doing good things for others is something that you do for yourself, not because you think it's what is expected of you, or because you expect something in return. I learned that I am important, that what I do really can affect other people's lives. I learned that the world was huge, and that no place is perfect but change is possible and it starts with ME. I also learned what it means to be a leader. Leading isn't about forcing people to follow you, it's about knowing who you are, what you are capable of, and doing it with conviction in order to get others to walk side by side WITH you. FYI made me feel like the sky was the limit. That no one could stop me from doing whatever I wanted but myself. I remember wanting to be a music producer, and having a so much support from FYI. They told me that anything is possible and hard work is what gets you to where you want to be. As I got older I had a new goal of wanting to wear a suit and be like the guys on Wall Street. Using the lessons and skills that I learned from FYI, I started to take my college studies seriously and set a goal of getting into the honors program at Lehman College, and I did it. I strove to maintain a high GPA, and I did it. I strove to be different and do what others thought was too hard by learning another language – Japanese – and I did that too. Then toward the end of college, I was accepted into a competitive internship at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the summer. It was a great opportunity, and I knew that if I worked hard enough, and applied everything that I had learned in life thus far, that I could turn my internship into a career. Today I work full time for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and I know that without everything I gained from FYI, I would probably find myself in a different situation today.

1 Lindell P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I first moved to Washington Heights, I knew no one and played alone. I began volunteering with Fresh Youth Initiatives in 1994 while heading to the park to play alone. They were there with youth members from the neighborhood repainting the short surrounding walls of the park and I immediately grabbed a paint brush to join. At the age of 12 I began an incredible frontier of integration into an unknown Dominican dominated community, amazing after school activities through fervent volunteerism and exceptional introduction to inadvertent professional training.

I received my first official employment opportunity when FYI offered members the job of designing one of the brochures. As a lefty, creative adventurer, lover of art and drawing I jumped on the opening and received a seventy dollar stipend for my assistance. After this I realized I could volunteer in addition to bringing in some type of income. My mother gave birth to me at the age of 13 and was fully versed in caring for my sister and myself as well as climbing the corporate ladder which she DID! For this reason being positively active after school, as well as bringing in any type of money were both imperative (even at the age of 12).

Later in my time with FYI I became a Neighborhood Service Leader. At this time I was of working age and it upgraded me to monthly payments. The job required myself the NSL Leader to create a weekly volunteer program outside of what FYI was already doing. My volunteer project was at the library inside the UFBCO Day Care Center on 158th street. Our tasks were to organization the library via categories, labeling, pickup and return processing as well. This was to encourage the young youth to begin and keep a love for books and reading. This was something I did from 1998 until I graduate high school and left to attend college in 2002.

I loved my entire time with Fresh Youth Initiatives. I even became an expert with both the Apple Mac and Microsoft who dominated at that time. The after school activities kept me volunteering, executing creatively and SAFE during that deep time of gang violence in NYC. I was also extremely prepared and ready to enter my new, unknown first generation college experience. Since my time with them I've graduated with a B.A. in Mass Communications - Public Relations from Virginia State University. I have been in public relations and event planning for Brooklyn Terrace, Aloft Hotel, Sheridan Hotel, Millesime at the Carlton Hotel, Universal Motown, Sarah Hall Productions, Laurent- Perrier Champagne, Bombay Sapphire, Reebok, and will resume working with FYI.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with FYI as a volunteer for three years now and I will continue to work with them for as long as I can. In working with them I have been able to witness the positive impact the program has had on youth. This is a place where they can feel comfortable to be themselves and learn new things. This program is a family and everyone of it's members is important and special. All the children and teens have the ability to speak to any of the staff members about their issues and just have a good time playing games and being together. FYI not only helps youth interact with other youth but exposes them to new experiences and new places. Which gives them the opportunity to see the world that is outside of their neighborhoods. I would recommend this program to any parent/family member that wants to expose their children to new experiences and activities. And what is best of all is that FYI is a free program for neighborhood youth!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated in FYI for five years, I am proud to say that i am an absolute product of this program. I have participated in different services activities such as mural paintings, park clean ups, mural paintings and many more influential activities . We visited different places from our community including museums, parks, over night camps and concerts . Later i became a youth leader after school, in which helped me to improve my leadership skills. FYI 's staffs are incredible. I will recommend this program to any youth ,This is amazing, we are one big family!!

1 ltapia

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have known Fresh Youth Initiatives for 14 years. I was not only a member of this great organization and served on its Board, I am proud to say that i am a genuine product of Fresh Youth Initiatives. I am currently a Director of a community center in Midtown Manhattan and as a Human Services Professional I can tell you that Fresh Youth Initiatives is the top Youth Development Organization in New York City. The leadership skills you learn, the confidence you gain, the experiences you go through and the ability to make it all your own is what ALL New York City kids need to really explore their potential. FYI helped me learn that I am much greater than what I think I am and sparked my passion to help others through service.

1 Robin71

Client Served

Rating: 5

I Been Involved with Fresh Youth Initiatives since I've been 9 years old, I'm 19 years old now and i can honestly say i wouldn't be the person i am today if it wasn't for this program. Fresh Youth initiatives has open my mind to so many things, and have given me experiences the are life changing. They made me into the man the i am today, and have help me carve my own path to success.

2 Priscilla N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became an FYIer back in 2000, I started with their summer day camp which back then was free. It was by far the best summer; I participated in park clean ups, mural paintings, sleeping bags for the homeless, and many other educational activities. We visited museums and other landmarks. I later became a regular participant at FYI after school. At FYI the staff was amazing, I was able to built my leadership skills and improve in other areas. From pen pals 4 life, to the sleeping bag-a-thon to the service-thon, Trip USA, FYI should be the place for every youth to attend. I experience my first summer job at FYI planning the serve a-thon. My nephews are also FYIer's and they love FYI and everything it offers.

Client Served

Rating: 5

FYI is a non profit organization which focuses on helping the community. In FYI we feed the homeless by distributing can goods, distributing soup and hot chocolate. As well as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and other go to meals. We also make and distribute sleeping bags donate clothes and help kids stay off the street by exposing them to things that really matter. FYI also helps kids academically by tutoring them in the field they need help in. FYI also removes graffiti cleans parks and paint murals. These are just a few examples of the wonderful programs this organization offers.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Fresh Youth Initiative is much more than I expected. I am a volunteer tutor and I am very glad that I was able to help the students at FYI. They are all very great students and deserve all the help they can get. The staff is wonderful! All are so sweet and helpful. It's a great environment. I can't wait to be involve in much more than just tutoring. Go FYI! Keep up the good work!