The Coatesville Youth Initiative ServiceCorps is a free program for Coatesville Area School District youth between the ages of 14-18, which combines an eight-week employment experience with a challenging life and leadership skills development curriculum. Now in its third year, the summer ServiceCorps helps 40 at-risk, low-income youth build job skills by providing a summer-long paid job at a non-profit or for-profit site, along with a challenging leadership development curriculum and a day of volunteer service.
The following “personal mission statement” from a 2011 Summer ServiceCorps participant best describes the impact of this program:
“To leave the earth better than I found it by leading a life based on the values of perseverance, compassion, and understanding of my responsibility to be aware of the social factors that contribute to a brighter future for all.”
Coatesville Youth Initiative
Coatesville Youth Initiative ServiceCorps participants Lucas, Noah and Aaron Willett with their mother, Debbie Willett - read their story now! View a short video about this story now. Get connected with all the stories in the 2011 Community Report.
Recognizing that our efforts to improve the health of Coatesville area youth requires more than providing medical services, we secured funding from the William Penn Foundation, ArcelorMittal, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office and the United Way of Chester County to conduct a year-long planning process with the goal of launching a Youth Development Initiative for the Coatesville area this fall. Community members requested we step forward to address what many viewed as a deteriorating set of circumstances for young people ages 12-24 in Coatesville.
While many small organizations run programs for youth, their services are underfunded and often duplicate each other, staff have little access to professional development opportunities, and many agencies that serve the same young people had never even met until the Initiative’s meetings began.
Since the planning process began in July of 2010, more than 80 individuals and 40 organizations and agencies have come together on a monthly basis to meet, share information, explore the community’s assets, programs and existing services, and to set priorities for the future.
The major outcome we sought this year was to serve as a catalyst for the Coatesville community of stakeholders, enabling them to create a comprehensive vision of how to support the needs of older youth as evidenced by a strategic plan document. We are proud that so many community residents and organizations came forward and remained involved in the process – and that so many are now signing up to work in five identified program areas we are pursuing:
- Pathways Beyond High School: Ensure students and their families have access to the information they need to effectively matriculate through the CASD and get to high school graduation with a plan.
- Greater Parental Engagement: Create opportunities for families to spend time with one another, develop a network of support, and have access to workshops and resources that increase family and caregiver engagement.
- Community Outreach Work Group: Promote the Coatesville Youth Initiative and the Communities That Care system, educates the key Leaders, stakeholders and the public about the work of the CYI and identifies opportunities to celebrate success.
- Out-of-School Time Task Force: Create a network of youth organizations and programs working together to coordinate programming, communication, scheduling and improved service delivery and lay the foundation for the development of a recreation center.
- Juvenile Justice Collaborative: Develop a coordinated approach to diverting young people at risk of becoming engaged in the juvenile justice system, and helping those already in the system to successfully reintegrate into school and community.
Learn more about the Working Groups now (PDF):
- Pathways Beyond High School
- Greater Parental Engagement
- Out-of-School Time Task Force
- Juvenile Justice Collaborative
- Community Outreach
- Game Changers Youth Council
Click here if you would like to download the Community Plan Phase II for the Coatesville Youth Initiative, a coordinated approach to address the problems of crime, drug and alcohol abuse, and helping young people prepare for a productive adulthood. The Community Plan Phase 1 and the executive summary of the plan can also be downloaded here.
The foundation is proud to embark on what we hope will be a long term effort to turn around the City of Coatesville and its surrounding communities, beginning with creating opportunities for young people to grow up to become healthy and productive citizens. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact us -- we’d love to hear from you!