392 Genesee Street

Rochester, NY 14611

Teen Empowerment

Teen Empowerment (TE) empowers youth to catalyze positive change in themselves, their peers, and their communities. To do so, TE inspires youth to think deeply about the most difficult issues in their communities, like violence, educational inequities, and racism. Youth tap into their own strengths and talents and TE provides them with the tools that help them work together for change. As COVID-19 continues to keep us apart, youth need connection more than ever. This year's Westside and new Eastside youth organizing groups will work remotely (& physically distanced outdoors when warm weather returns) and translate TE youth-led initiatives to livestreams, social media campaigns and voice in systems change. Your contribution will help TE employ low-income youth (14-20 year olds) in leadership positions in their own neighborhoods where they organize initiatives reaching at least 1,200 youth. TE develops youths' public speaking, conflict resolution, organizing, and group facilitation skills in the process of creating community change. They draw on their unique talents and incorporate the arts—theater, rap, spoken-word poetry, song, interpretive dance, and graphic arts—to engage, inspire and educate others. Each year, TE's team of youth and adult staff, with help from up to 50 volunteers, engage 600-1,000 neighborhood youth and adults in initiatives to improve the community. Since 2003, TE has employed 511 talented Rochester youth who have designed and implemented life changing initiatives involving more than 13,000 of their peers and other neighborhood residents, organizations, business owners, and/or public officials. Watch Change Starts with YOUth! on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/XbkZB4hWqL4. Everyday TE youth and their peers in Rochester confront issues of devastating violence and retaliation, strained relations with police, an increasing gap from their suburban peers in educational achievement and opportunities for growth and success, along with the myriad of burdens that compound with poverty. Yet, to TE, youth are not a problem to solve. Youth are the solution. TE youth jobs achieve several outcomes in themselves. They (1) help combat poverty by contributing to the small pool of employment available to youth within the city limits (additionally, meaningful and career-building); (2) allow youth to invest the time needed to have a real impact; and (3) attract higher risk youth who might not typically identify with social change efforts—enabling them to break away from labels that peg them as people who HARM the community, to people who help HEAL it.

We focus on: Community Benefit and Economic Development, Arts and Culture

Where we are: Monroe

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