A major component of Solar Youth programs is Stewardship. Each season, Community Service Action Projects, or “C-SAP’s” as we call them, are designed and carried out by our youth, and facilitated by program staff. Every group embarks on a nine-step process to bring about improvement in their communities. Check out the video below showing all the Community Service Projects our Stewards did this fall!
Below is a brief description of each programs C-SAP!
West Hills Citycology (4-8 year olds)
West Hills Citycology had a shared passion for animals and after many discussions; they realized that homeless cats were prevalent in their neighborhood. The major needs of homeless cats were identified as food and shelter.
Thanks to the Greater New Haven Cat Project, Citycology Stewards found a model for building feeding stations and shelters with affordable supplies for their CSAP. Using large Rubbermaid bins, youth assembled these stations and donated them to a local animal activist named Karen Stiles. Karen spoke with the youth about a group of stray cats for whom she had already assembled a “colony.” She showed the Youth where their shelters would be located as well as the group of cats they would be serving.
The Stewards also presented Karen with extra insulation for other shelters, food bowls and food, as well as bedding for winter warmth. As part of the “Teach” branch of their CSAP, youth assembled informational hand-drawn posters and a page on making your own shelter to hand out at the Fall Public Education Forum, or PEF. These informational sheets can be found HERE and HERE.
Citycology Stewards’ new understanding of feral cat communities expanded their compassion and excitement around contributing to positive change!
Westville Manor Citycology (4-8 year olds)
Across the board Westville Manor Citycology stewards were concerned about the violence in their neighborhood. They talked about all types of violence from robberies, domestic violence, and shootings, to bullying and kids playing rough on the playground. After several discussions about violence it became clear these Stewards wanted to learn more about Anger and Anger Management.
Thanks to “The Home Teacher” Blog, Citycology youth had a model for learning about Anger Management through an Angry Birds Curriculum that their Educator expanded on. After spending 3 weeks learning about anger management and cool down strategies our Citycology Stewards decided it was time to take their knowledge out into the community. They decided to promote friendship among neighbors by passing out friendship bracelets along with bookmarks that have different anger management strategies and information on them! They then went around and passed them out to our neighbors! Great CSAP Stewards!
Newhallville Citycology (4-8 year olds)
After exploring their community, Newhallville Stewards decided litter was a significant problem, worthy of their CSAP, because neighboring residents deserved better. They wanted to include people from the community in order to make a lasting resolution. Stewards organized a trash pickup day, designed and posted flyers around the neighborhood, and set out to beautify the streets! Keep up the good work Stewards!
West Hills Steward Team
The West Hills Steward Team took a different approach to their Community Service Action Project. The Stewards realized that their community was lacking exposure to healthy food options. They wanted to present their neighbors with a meal that provided grains and vegetables. The Stewards decided to put together a sandwich on a whole wheat roll with grilled seasoned chicken, baby spinach, a slice of tomato, and a little green pepper sauce. They came up with this recipe on their own after researching healthy foods.
The Stewards learned how to read a food label and some of the effects processed foods can have on their bodies. They practiced reading labels and calculating nutritional content based on serving size. Comparative reasoning played a part as Stewards held two labels next to each other and determined which food item was the healthier choice
The Stewards of West Hills made over FIFTY sandwiches to hand out to their neighbors, complete with a customized nutrition label and a letter describing the importance of eating well. These Stewards really produced a phenomenal CSAP and helped their neighbors by teaching them something new!
Newhallville Steward Team
Newhallville Steward Team decided to address the far reaching problem of gun violence in their communities. While one steward pointed out that gun violence is not unique to New Haven, as “we have a war going on in Afghanistan, and it’s all over America,” the Youth decided the global scale of violence was not the place to begin work, but instead to plant the seed of “imagining the world at peace.” Solar Youth partner Joe Brummer, Associate Executive Director of Community Mediation, Inc has led several eye-opening Nonviolent Communication trainings for SY Staff and Interns. When he learned of our C-SAP, he was thrilled to collaborate with the youth of Newhallville and facilitated a workshop defining violence, exploring some root causes and brainstorming some solutions. The discussions were poignant, charged with emotion and questioning, and one intern even expressed his gratitude for Joe joining us in facing this daunting issue, saying “I really like him. He brings a lot of good ideas and makes me think about things in different ways than I’m used to. I guess that’s the kind of thinking we need in order to change things.”
Westville Manor Steward Team
Bullying is a common theme for school kids across the country, and Westville Manor Steward Team voted to dedicate their C-SAP to helping victims and bystanders deal with the problem in a therapeutic way. When the Stewards learned about Nonviolent Communication, they were intrigued and invited local mediator Joe Brummer to come help them research the dynamics of bullying. They couldn’t wait to tell Joe that they already had a solution in mind: to spread the word about 2-11! “2-11 is an emergency phone number you can call, not for a fire or physical emergency, but when you’re very upset and don’t know what to do, like when you’re being bullied.” 2-1-1- is Connecticut's free information and referral service, provided by United Way. The following information and more can be found at the website www.211ct.org. “Simply by dialing 2-1-1, a toll-free number throughout Connecticut, callers can reach knowledgeable, multilingual staff and get information, referrals or seek help in a crisis. 2-1-1 operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year. TDD access is available.” Great show of resourcefulness and compassion from Westville Manor Steward Team!