We are creating a courageous community where ALL YOUTH can Succeed.
Citywide Youth Coalition History
Citywide Youth Coalition, Inc. (CWYC) is a non-profit organization that was founded by grassroots organizers. Grassroots organizing is a collective style of achieving political and economical power in any given community to create social change.
New Haven has a historical trauma of racial oppression dating back to the genocide of the indigenous people of the Quinnipiac River who inhabited the land. Progression in racial and social justice was heavily influenced by the civil rights movement and the criminalization of Black & Brown individuals across the state.
Systemic oppression & police brutality wreaked havoc within different neighborhoods such as the Hill region, Fair Haven, New Hallville & West River.
Unfortunately, young leaders were in the cross-fire of political and economical changes in specifically Black & Brown communities.
During this time, history was painting a malicious picture of poorly sustaining resources, opportunities and access to safety of the New Haven youth. Relationships were creating opportunities for social change among grassroots organizers in the late 1970’s. Citywide Youth Coalition was born thanks to the tenacity of local youth-serving professionals and community activists seeking to create more opportunities for youth leadership and power.
Members of the community demanded that the city of New Haven provide more services for adolescent teens and pooled their resources to:
Establish a free breakfast and lunch program to feed kids during summer break (1970's and 1980's)
Develop a transportation plan to support summer programming (1990's),
Create a sustaining partnership with Yale University's Consultation Center to establish the Youth Development and Training Center (1990's-today)
Expand and support youth-led campaigns throughout the city which helped revised the city's charter to include two student seats on the New Haven Board of Education.
Moving forward, Citywide Youth Coalition has incorporated anti-racist values and radical love in the support of youth power and leadership in New Haven,Connecticut. At Citywide Youth Coalition, we hold ourselves accountable to our principles to ensure youth power isn’t synonymous with representation and we are authentic in our work. We must be intentional in nurturing relationships and developing collaborative opportunities for Black & Brown youth to prosper in all communities.
Who We Are...
The New Haven area will undoubtedly benefit from an inclusive, united, and supported youth network whose voice will usher forth positive changes for all. The individuals working collaboratively at CWYC represents an inter-generational community focused on producing the best version of ourselves and our future leaders.
Addys Castillo - Executive Director
Jeremy Cajigas - Youth Organizer
Ta’Lanna-Monique Miller -
Simone Davis - Communications Coordinator
CWYC envisions a courageous community where young people lead social change.
CWYC builds youth power through education, leadership development, and anti-racist community organizing.
The New Haven urban area hosts a true youth-serving system that effectively speaks with a unified voice when articulating youth needs and goals, fosters collaboration so that youth service providers reach all young people, and publicly acknowledges the positive value in youth voice and youth leaders, as well as the dedicated people who support their development.
Everything CWYC does, it does with:
We live in a society that marginalizes people, stripping them of their humanity. At CWYC, we honor our collective humanity, and respect each other as human beings, even if we do not agree with each other's perspectives.
We value equity-
where everyone has a place in our space and where everyone gets their share of resources and support needed for them to thrive
We create and work for liberated spaces where people from all groups and identity expressions can be free to exist as themselves and live authentically.
We build relationships where we can be open, vulnerable, and honest, working in partnership because we know that we can only go far in this work if we work with others.
We know that the process of transnational change requires community and that in order to effectively work together, we must build trust with each other.
The Need to Serve
Youth voice is often absent or minimized in issue discussions that directly impact them. CWYC maintains the philosophy that youth voice is an essential tool for social change. However, CWYC also recognizes youth voice must also translate to youth POWER for youth to impact systems reform. CWYC’s aim is to strengthen young leaders and youth-serving staff personally and civically,
with the belief that the New Haven area will undoubtedly benefit from an inclusive, united, and supported youth network whose voice will usher forth positive changes for all.
Who We Serve
Citywide Youth Coalition, Inc. has opportunities available for youth-serving adults and young adults (ages 14-25) who work, go to school, or live in the urban New Haven region.
For youth-serving adults:
Monthly Coalition Meetings: This monthly meeting provides our network of over 500 youth-serving adults with the opportunity to learn best practices from experts in the community through workshops, panel discussions, open forums, etc.
Youth Collaborative Meetings: This bi-weekly meeting provides representatives from member organizations with the opportunity to work collaboratively with other member organizations to provide wrap-around services and supports for New Haven youth.
Youth ‘N Dialogue: Also known as Dinner & Dialogue, this bi-monthly town hall series co-facilitated by youth advisory board leaders and youth-serving adults aims to inform the youth of the community on topics that impact them, while also creating a liberated space where intergenerational exchanges can occur.
Youth 'N Action: Led by our Youth Advisory Board, the Youth 'N Action component is responsible for connecting youth across the city who are working on youth-led campaigns for social change. The participants organize themselves using CWYC resources to mobilize the community. CWYC staff also offers trainings on Undoing Racism and Youth Organizing 101 to increase the capacity of the youth involved at this level.
Youth 'N Power: CWYC staff appoint youth members who have demonstrated a commitment to creating change in their communities to positions on the CWYC Youth Advisory Board. These young people are the faces of CWYC who advocate on behalf of the initiatives decided by the youth advisory board.