GREATER NEW HAVEN YOUTH NETWORK
One of the essential learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic is the need for community engagement and partnership to support our city’s young people. Youth organizations from across the region partnered to engage our community and address long-standing unmet needs affecting our young people and which were exacerbated by the pandemic. During the 2020-21 school year and summer, two groups that met regularly included the New Haven Community Learning Hubs and the United Way’s Summer Youth Fund, both groups focusing on building connections and relationships to serve students and families.
The Learning Hubs provided safe, neighborhood-based spaces for distance learning, social support, and enrichment, and Summer Youth Fund agencies navigated safe returns to in-person summer activities. Merging the spirit of these two groups, the Greater New Haven Youth Network brings them together and invites other agencies that provide youth programming to help develop a citywide, community-based network of youth development professionals and programs to join as well. This brings an all-hands-on-deck approach to support out-of-school programs, their staff, and the children, youth, and families they serve.
Goals for the Network
- Cultivate a GNH regional network of mutual support and professional development for youth programs
- Ensure high-quality before and after school, school vacation, and summer programs are accessible to GNH families
- Build knowledge of wraparound support services to help programs address holistic family needs
- Support a system of ongoing improvement to ensure high quality programming for all children
- Build relationships, connections, and collaborative opportunities across GNH youth agencies
- Work to leverage and amplify the reach and impact of the network by promoting network programs and fundraising opportunities
- Network is open to any agencies engaged in youth development in Greater New Haven
- Programs provide supportive programming that is high-quality, developmentally appropriate, and culturally affirming
- Programs serve children and youth of all ages, from Pre-K through youth up to 25 years old, where older youth can be in staff roles
- Programs prioritize serving children and youth who are low-income youth and part of Greater New Haven’s most vulnerable populations
- Programs work toward ensuring equitable access to programs (including the offering of free or low cost programs).
- Programs are an integral component of a broader network of mutual support, working to facilitate neighborhood linkages, financial stability, interdependence, investment, and work opportunities
- Programs collaborate with school districts
- Programs operate independently, covering their own liability and ensuring that adults have all appropriate background checks
- Programs work towards designing a shared definition of success with input from children, youth, parents, teachers, providers, and partners
- Network listens to needs of the member agencies for opportunities to collaborate and continuously improve
- Network meetings are held monthly, with additional training opportunities throughout the year
We host monthly Network Meetings (on Zoom) which are open to any youth agency in Greater New Haven. The Planning Committee designs interactive, fun, and learning-filled meetings that intend to foster valuable connections across agencies. The meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month 10:30am-12:00pm and are intended for program and leadership staff and address topics like staff recruitment & training, parent engagement, social emotional learning, and more.
This May we held our first GNH Youth Network Summit–an in-person networking and skill building opportunity, and we hope to plan informal happy hour and other fun events for participating agencies.
If you’re interested to join the meetings or events, please see the sign up form below to join!
PLANNING COMMITTEE PARTNERS
Connecticut Center for Arts & Technology
Students for Educational Justice
D.E.S.T.I.N.E.D. to Succeed
Arts in CT
United Way of Greater New Haven
Are you a staff member or leader at an afterschool/out-of-school time organization working with young people in greater New Haven? Want to learn more about this network or how to join? Please complete the contact form below.
We also have a Summer Youth Programs Directory where you may be interested in being featured!