Fall 2012 Youth Service Improvement Grants Announced

December 13th, 2012

The William T. Grant Foundation has awarded Youth Service Improvement Grants (YSIG) to ten community-based organizations in New York City. Each will receive $25,000 to implement projects over the next year to help improve the quality of their youth programs. In addition to funding, the Foundation will also offer grantees consulting support from the Youth Development Institute to help ensure successful implementation.

These 10 grants will support programs focused on academic support, civic engagement, socioemotional learning, college and career readiness, and technological preparedness. These grantees were selected from a pool of 65 applications received in spring 2012.

The YSIG program shares the goal of our research grants—improving the lives of young people. These grants support medium-sized organizations that have already had some success, but need funding to make necessary improvements. Applications are accepted twice a year, in the spring and fall. Applications for the spring 2013 application cycle will accepted between mid-January and mid-March. Please visit our website regularly for specific dates. Application guidelines, eligibility information, and other resources are available in the Funding Opportunities section of our website.

The 10 grantees from the spring 2012 application cycle follow.

Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program
ACE Summer Pilot Program
New York, NY

Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program (HJTEP) is an in-school, after-school, and summer program that features tennis instruction and competitive play integrated with academic support and college preparation. HJTEP will use this award to improve its summer program, which serves 300 youth and runs 8 hours a day, 5 days a week in July and August. HJTEP will purchase the Academic Creative Engagement (ACE) curriculum and hire a consultant to provide staff training and help implement the program in summer 2013 for a subgroup of 30 youth who are at the greatest risk of summer learning loss. The ACE curriculum also has rubrics that measure how well participants retain their academic skills. If the program is successful, it will be expanded to all summer program participants.

Red Hook Initiative
Young Adult Program
Brooklyn, NY

Red Hook Initiative (RHI) provides access to training, health care, education, and employment to residents of the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. RHI will use this award to formalize and improve its programming for young adults ages 19–24. RHI currently serves 40–50 young adults through its General Educational Development (GED) program; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer (LGBTQ) support group; College Scholars program; and one-on-one services. RHI plans to design and implement a comprehensive, developmentally appropriate program model. RHI will use a formal enrollment process in which each participant receives a psychosocial assessment by a social worker and is tested for placement in the appropriate educational program. To assess whether its program goals are being achieved, RHI will add workforce readiness training and institute a system to track and measure the progress of participants.

Queens Museum of Art
Queens Teens: A Tiered Approach
Flushing Meadows, NY

Queens Museum of Art will use this award to improve its Queens Teens (QT) after-school program, which provides 25 students with a comprehensive understanding of the inner workings of the Museum and exposes them to careers in the arts over a school year. Currently, only half of the participants return each year, and the program content remains the same from year to year. Queens Museum of Art will shift to a tiered programming model to provide different activities for students with different levels of experience. The tier system will gradually provide students with more leadership activities and give them an active role in the design of the program. A new mentorship component will also provide returning participants with guidance and career advice from Museum staff and QT graduates.

Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAP)
ALLL Teaching Artist Training
New York, NY

Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAP) is an educational services organization that improves the quality of public education for New York City youth through a hands-on, arts-based approach. LeAP wants to improve Arts Learning Leads to Literacy (ALLL), which integrates academic instruction into music, dance, theater, and visual arts. The program annually serves 3,300 K–12 students from New York City schools in high-risk areas. Although ALLL’s evaluation shows that it has positive results, LeAP is proactively modifying its current curriculum to better align with the higher performance standards of New York’s new Common Core Curriculum (CCC). LeAP will partner with New York University to create a more comprehensive curriculum for grades 6–8 and all teaching artists will receive training specifically focused on the CCC.

Tribeca Film Institute
Tribeca Teaches
New York, NY

Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) will improve Tribeca Teaches, an in- and after-school residency program that teaches students basic filmmaking skills. Students create documentaries based on themes connected to the individual school’s core curriculum. TFI will use this grant to keep abreast of current teaching standards and broaden participants’ learning to include more technology-based activities. It also wants to help its participants better understand and use different media formats, particularly social media, in the filmmaking process. To accomplish this, TFI will hire a consultant to develop a curriculum guide that incorporates new media-based activities and connects to the New York State Learning Standards. Teaching artists will also be trained in the use of these expanded technologies. Students will learn how to edit their own films, facilitating a more comprehensive knowledge of film projects, from start to finish.

Row New York, Inc.
Basic Skills Boot Camp
Long Island City, NY

Row New York offers the sport of rowing coupled with academic support to under-resourced youth in New York City. It plans to use this grant to improve the Pre-Competitive Rowing Exposure Program (PREP), which provides athletic (rowing) training, assessment-based tutoring, and homework help to 40 middle-school girls. To address a summer-time retention rate drop, Row New York will hire a reading-literacy skills curriculum consultant to develop an eight-week summer program spanning July and August. In July, academic tutoring and other classroom learning will be paired with an equal amount of on-water rowing. In August, participants will split their time between educational field trips and experiential learning and academic activities. Tutors will be recruited from New York City colleges and receive a stipend or class credit.

Summer on the Hill
Writing Improvement Project
Bronx, NY

Summer on the Hill (SOH) wants to improve its grade 3–8 program, which provides 200 students recruited from New York City public schools with accelerated classes in language arts, math, science, and art along with guidance on school choices and SAT/ACT preparation. Programs take place on the Horace Mann campus over 18 Saturdays during the school year and 6 weeks during the summer. SOH will hire a writing specialist to develop a curriculum tailored to SOH students, including strategies and goals for writing at each grade level. The specialist will develop training and deliver materials to help faculty teach the new curriculum and assess students. Finally, the specialist, with input from faculty, will create an ongoing curriculum map so that staff will know what students learned the previous year.

Coro New York Leadership Center
Curriculum Development Project for Coro’s Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council
New York, NY

Coro New York Leadership Center will use this award to improve its Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council (MYLC). MYLC is a two-year program in which 20 New York City 11th and 12th grade high school students build leadership skills and develop an understanding of how city government works, especially as it pertains to youth policy. During the second year, participants advise the mayor and his team on youth issues and support and train the next cohort of participants. MYLC’s current curriculum was modified from another program and does not meet its goals to educate young leaders on how city government is organized and run. Coro will review the pilot year of the program, determine best practices in the field, and interview program participants and personnel from the Mayor’s Office. It will then develop and implement a new curriculum that promotes youth leadership and development.

Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement House
Gender-Specific Program for Middle School Boys
Long Island City, NY

Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement House will use this award to improve its Riis Academy After-School program, which serves more than 1,000 boys and girls from western Queens. The program focuses on academic enrichment, life skills, health and wellness, and civic engagement. Jacob Riis has found that its male middle-school participants need a safe space and trusted person to talk with about sensitive issues such as bullying, self-esteem, and sex/gender roles. Jacob Riis will create a specific component of the after-school program to serve 60 middle-school boys across its 3 campuses. It will hire a Health Educator/Technology Specialist to manage the new component, which will include health and sexuality workshops, literacy training, blogging, and related staff development.

The Point Community Development Corporation
Social Worker in Residency Project
Bronx, NY

The Point Community Development Corporation will use this award to improve its after-school and weekend programming, which serve 500 kids from the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. Programs emphasize academic support and justice-based arts and service learning activities. The Point will hire a part-time social worker to take on a caseload of the neediest students and their families to provide counseling and referrals. The social worker will conduct workshops focused on developing socio-emotional skills and train frontline staff and volunteers to better handle participants’ issues. To help sustain this new component, the social worker will establish a relationship with a local social work school to provide clinical supervision and a team of master’s of social work candidates to work with the Point’s participants.

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