Community Collaborative for Youth
While there are numerous mainstream activities available for youth, not every youth will fit into a traditional program. To provide an alternative to mainstream programs, a coalition of five community-based programs has banded together as the Community Collaborative for Youth (CCY).
Although each CCY program takes a unique approach, all have the common purpose of providing encouragement and guidance for youth in their transition to adulthood, incorporating supportive, creative approaches rather than punitive responses to destructive behaviors. Each program addresses issues such as violence, alienation, isolation and hopelessness.
The Beyond Violence Alliance raises awareness on the roots of violence and its prevention. Workshops offer a channel of communication about the pain suffered as a result of marginalization, harassment or violence.
The Stonewall Alliance Youth provides a supportive and safe place for gay, lesbian and questioning youth, between 14 and 25 years old, to meet and to self-identify according to their own feelings.
The Nia Learning Academy offers an Afro-centric, standards-based curriculum to prepare students to enter the post-secondary educational system and perform confidently and competitively.
A Theatre on the Inside-Out has youth share personal stories of racism and violence and how it has affected them. The stories are then incorporated into drama, art, music and poetry.
Journey: Coming of Age in Today’s World is an after-school program at Fairview High School examining relationships with family, peers and the community, with special emphasis on the dynamics of prejudice and racism.
CCY Founder and Administrative Coordinator Emily Alma explained that for various reasons each individual group was struggling to find funding. By combining forces, however, the collaborative was able to secure a “capacity building” grant from the North Valley Community Foundation.
“The vision for CCY is that right now we represent five groups, but we’re open to more,” Alma said, explaining that four groups are in the process of applying to join the collaborative. “We’re very interested in expanding and representing whatever groups fit with our mission.”
The community foundation was also the conduit of a grant from The California Endowment that funded the summer program of A Theatre on the Inside-Out. The group will present an original production next week that will serve as the “stepping out” party for the Community Collaborative for Youth.
The production, written by youth involved in the program, focuses on themes of family alcoholism, violence and dealing with differences. Alma explained that, due to language, the material is appropriate for youth 14 and older.
The event will also offer the opportunity to introduce the other CCY programs in hopes that people will get a sense of what the collaborative is all about. Youth representing the other programs will be in attendance.
The event is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. at the Chico Cabaret in the Almond Orchard Shopping Center. A $5 donation for adults or $3 for youth is requested at the door.
Alma says the CCY programs are learning from each other. She hopes that future projects will bring youth from different programs together to work on special projects.
But Alma says the ultimate goal is even loftier.
“The bigger vision is that not only would we represent individual groups, and create a way for these groups to interact, but also that we become an advocacy agency for youth."