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
For me, Fresh Youth Initiatives is not just an afterschool program or summer day camp program, but it has become like a home for me. Here, community service is a priority, from painting a mural to creating over a hundred sleeping bags to give out to the homeless. I’ve enjoyed working in New York City’s only youth run food pantry, the Helping Hands Food Bank where we provide bags of canned and dry goods to clients around the Washington Heights/Inwood area. To know I have changed a person’s life or the life of a community makes me realize that a little change makes a big difference.
Community service is important in this organization, but the meaning of family, friends, fun and respect is just as vital. Children, young adults, and adults alike learn the impact of working as a team, becoming friends and discover that to get respect, you must give it. As well as learning values, participants learn how to act and grow in the work place. I myself have gotten a chance to grow from just a participant to a significant part of the organization. FYI integrates the entire community as a part of the business and in the process creates a safe environment for its children. I am glad to have found FYI because it has helped me grow in many ways