Solar Youth’s mission is to empower youth from New Haven’s high-poverty neighborhoods to achieve lifelong success. We do this through our unique program model called the “Cycle of Stewardship” which includes long-term supportive relationships, and programs that happen IN neighborhoods where youth EXPLORE their ENVIRONMENT, become PROBLEM-SOLVERS and practice LEADERSHIP.
Youth can begin their experience as young as 4 and continue through high school. Programs are at no cost to families, and take place during and after school, on weekends and holidays, and throughout the summer. Since founding, more than 3,000 youth have participated in Solar Youth programs.
KIDS EXPLORE! Using the city as a laboratory for discovery, education is combined with exploration (hands-on lessons, hiking, etc.), providing youth new perspectives with which to view their city, knowledge of healthy recreational activities available to them, as well as fun!
KIDS DO! Youth identify local issues that affect the health of people and the natural environment, and then seek solutions to these problems through a nine-step process of problem solving and youth-led action called the C-SAP (Community Service Action Project) cycle.fun!
KIDS TEACH! Youth strengthen their learning by educating others in their community on what they learned and accomplished via public education projects. This provides an opportunity for youth to be recognized by their community, families and peers for their stewardship.n!
LEADERSHIP: As teens, Stewards are trained and hired as Interns to co-lead programs with adults. Youth voice is a central part of all Solar Youth programs.!
MINDFULNESS: Through meditation, yoga and more, Solar Youth cultivates youth’s ability to be in a state of active, open attention on the present. Benefits include stress reduction, thoughtful responses vs. instant reactions and improved health.un!
NON-VIOLENT COMMUNICATION: Solar Youth models a method of communication that focuses on Self-Empathy (a deep and compassionate awareness of one’s own inner experience), Empathy (listening to another with deep compassion), and Honest Self-Expression (expressing oneself authentically in a way that is likely to inspire compassion in others).