Urban Community Action Planning for Teens (UCAPT) is a participatory, experiential youth model, designed by Dr. Laurie Ross, Professor at Clark University and current President of the Board of Directors at the Worcester Youth Center – UCAPT training is used to develop and engage low-income, urban youth in neighborhood problem-solving and planning. UCAPT is divided into four phases: 1) Neighborhood Problem and Strength Identification 2) Neighborhood Problem and Strength Prioritazation, 3) Data Collection and Action Planning 4) Project Implementation and Evaluation. The model consists of indoor and field based exercises in which young people:
- Explore meanings of community
- Analyze the current status of their community
- Investigate causes of community problems and origins of community strengths
- Prepare visual analyses and representations of community data through maps
- Brainstorm and strategize about possible avenues of change
- Develop action plans
- Explore partnerships with government and non-government organizations and agencies
- Implement, monitor, and evaluate their action plans.
Teen Action Group (TAG) provides youth leadership in the day-to-day and overall programming at the center. This group has elected officers and meets weekly to review agency operations. The Officers of TAG attend board meetings and recommend policy changes such as age limit at Center, the suspension policy, and fundraising for youth activities.
Media Arts Program
The Worcester Youth Center has a recording studio donated by Allen Fletcher, Board Chair for 10 years. This program gives an opportunity for youth to use their creative talents for developing research, build positive self-esteem, charisma and public speaking. Youth become employable, confident and knowledgeable about musical and engineering based careers. In the program, youth learn audio/visual, marketing, engineering and performing arts. The program uses Hip-Hop history and research to raise awareness of how music and media images have on our daily lives. It gives the youth an opportunity to explore other genres of music through workshops and brainstorming sessions. Youth must participate in the program prior to getting studio time to record music.
Pre-GED (Basic Skills) Preparation
Classes are offered free-of-charge to youth ages 14-24 who have not completed high school. The classes run daily, year-round. Most teaching is done in a group setting, however, individual attention is provided to youth that are in need of additional support.
After School Academic Enrichment Program
Through this homework assistance program, younger youth ages 14-18 complete assignments for their public school classes and receive help on an as-needed basis. The peer and adult support also guides the planning and development of specific projects. Additionally, youth have access to materials and other resources (including computers) that may be unavailable to them at home.
This program helps students prepare for college admission, research , essays, college visits, complete applications and financial aid forms.
Work Readiness/Job Placement Program
Targeting the most at-risk youth who are defined as chronically unemployed and least prepared for employment in terms of skills and attitudes, this program helps prepare teens for employment and to find jobs. Activities such as interviewing skills, resume creation, and pre-employment skills are taught using a model that combines mentoring and on-the-job training. By entering the world of work, many of these youth are decreasing their families’ dependence on government assistance and helping to break the cycle of despondency and isolation.
Community Service Projects:
Engage youth in making their community a welcoming and nurturing place to live. Community Service Projects are woven into all of our programs. Examples of these projects include, city clean ups, services for seniors in the city, Clean up of Foley Stadium, Clean up of warehouse next to Worcester Youth Center, and other projects.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Partnerships for Success Mentoring Program
Partnerships for Success matches adults with youth ages 14-21 who live in the Worcester area in an effort to help them recognize and achieve their personal, career or educational goals through positive, one-to-one structured and trusting relationships with caring individuals and through structured team mentoring.
One-to-One Mentoring: Mentors and Mentees are matched in pairs based on personality, interests, and goals for the match. Matches meet for at least four hours a month over the course of six to twelve months.
Team Mentoring: Mentors and Mentees, in groups maintaining a ratio of 2:3, meet weekly for one hour and work together around a topic and/or activity. The mentors are students at the College of the Holy Cross. Participants have the opportunity to attend a Holy Cross Crusaders athletic game and shadow their mentors for a day on the college campus.
If you are interested in being a mentor or a mentee, please contact Jeanette Roach (AmeriCorps Ambassador of Mentoring).
Programs are examples of activities developed in response to youth. These programs not only help develop self-esteem, but they reinforce wellness concepts and the importance of exercise and healthy lifestyles.
RISE, a support group by MSPCC that promotes positive interactions, self-esteem and responsible decision making, increasing communications skills and the problem of violence as a way to problem-solve, the program is co-ed and also focuses on relationship issues. Attendees help to direct the content of discussions and curriculum with a goal of attaining physically and emotionally healthy lifestyles, free of violence and drugs.