ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) recently announced the award of a $640,000 five-year Children, Youth and Families At Risk (CYFAR) Sustainable Community Project grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture for 4-H UNITY (Urban Neighborhoods Improved Through Youth). 4-H UNITY will be implemented by CCE Broome 4-H educators in Endicott and by CCE Monroe 4-H educators in Rochester.
UNITY will use Youth Community Action (YCA), a 4-H Signature Program, and a two-generational approach to address poverty and food insecurity. The project will be conducted by CCE Broome and CCE Monroe in close partnership with community partners and the New York State (NYS) 4-H Office, Cornell University.
UNITY’s approach focuses on the needs of vulnerable teens and their parents to strengthen family well-being, break the cycle of generational poverty and improve the community. UNITY teen/parent teams will become community change agents and conduct community improvement projects. Through the project, teens will gain the skills needed to graduate successfully from high school, prepared for college, careers and citizenship. “Visiting professors” from local organizations, colleges and universities will conduct STEM-based seminars to inform youth-determined and youth-designed projects.
UNITY Teen Leaders will use interactive theater presentations to build community awareness about issues in the community that are important to young people. By intentionally engaging local government leaders, businesses and community organizations, UNITY will establish a strong foundation for long-term sustainability to ensure UNITY’s continuation.
June P. Mead, CCE Broome County is the co-State Project Director and Evaluator. Andy Turner, NYS 4-H Leader, Cornell University, is the Principal Investigator. Jamila Walida Simon, NYS 4-H Office, is the 4-H UNITY State Project Director and Technology Coordinator. Kelly Mabee and Cindi Conway, CCE Broome, are the Community Project Coordinator and Parent Coordinator, respectively.
According to Dr. Mead, “We are proud to have a track record of transforming young lives. 100% of the youth who have completed our previous CYFAR projects graduated successfully from high school and have gone on to college with full or partial scholarships. That’s real success for high-need, at-risk youth! Broad-based community partnerships are critical to the success of UNITY. We are delighted to have outstanding partners committed to improving their communities through 4-H UNITY. We welcome all interested community collaborators.”
To learn more about becoming part of UNITY, please contact:
June P. Mead
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County
Andrea M. Lista
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County
Jamila Walida Simon
New York State 4-H Office, Cornell University
–Cornell Cooperative Extension
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