The Youth Engagement Project's Year in Review: Introduction (Part I of III)

In July 2012, the CCE launched a new initiative focused on youth development through community engagement in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County’s Citizen U program, Hinman College, and other local organizations. Led by our New York Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA, Pat Madej, the Youth Engagement Project teams local youth with Binghamton University students in an effort to improve the community, enhance the youths’ workforce preparation skills, and expose them to the college setting.

During the 2012-2013 academic year, the Youth Engagement Project has also expanded the University’s commitment to the community via a new Service-Learning course and many other connections. The new Service-Learning course, HDEV 116: Practicum in Leadership and Community Development, was offered during the Spring 2013 semester and co-taught by Pat Madej and Dr. Al Vos, Faculty Master of Hinman College.  The course, with twenty-four registered students, explored the history and culture of the Greater Binghamton community and included a mandatory service component. Over half of the students worked directly with youth-related organizations, and one class session featured several Binghamton High School students as guest speakers. The High School students led a discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of the city, the community projects they’ve worked on, and what improvements they’d like to see in their neighborhoods.

 Students from HDEV 116 working in the local community

Through their reflective exercises and written assignments, the Binghamton University students demonstrated how deeply the course and their service to the community impacted them. One freshman student wrote, “This class has opened me up to a path of community service for the next three years and potentially for the rest of my life… I’ve become connected with the Binghamton community like I never have in the past and I now see the possibilities to help people and the fulfillment it brings.”  

And the course wasn’t the only thing new this year. In addition to partnering on a new Service-Learning offering, Madej and the CCE collaborated with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Kay Telfer, an expert in youth development, to sponsor and facilitate a four-hour Advancing Youth Development course in Hinman College. Over twenty Binghamton University students completed the training, and many of them went on to volunteer and work on community projects with local youth from Citizen U.

 Binghamton University students working on community projects with Citizen U students

The coming posts in this three part blog series will give you a more in-depth look at specific projects and events coordinated by the Youth Engagement Project during the 2012-2013 academic year. Stay tuned to learn more about the ways Binghamton University students and local youth have combined forces to make Binghamton a better place for all. 

For more information and updates on the Youth Engagement Project, follow our VISTA, Pat Madej, on Twitter or visit our website.

Click here for Part II of our year in review! 

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