The Youth With A Future Workshops Manual is intended to help youth programs and colleges develop effective campus-community partnerships and to provide them with guidelines for creating a series of workshops and college field trips that will empower underserved and low income young people to complete their schooling and to go on to college and succeed in life. The workshops are intended to inspire the youth to envision college as important to accomplish their dreams, increase their confidence, and to be aware of the steps they need to take and challenges they need to overcome to get there.
The workshops are meant to be as experiential and fun as possible, emphasizing both college awareness and college preparation. They also include field trips to area colleges so the youth can experience college life. College students from diverse backgrounds act as mentors to show the youth that higher education is accessible to them and take a lead role in planning and implementing the workshops. In this way, the workshops also provide college students with rewarding community engagement opportunities and build their leadership skills.
The manual comes out of the learning that resulted from many years of experience. A pilot series of workshops were first developed by El Arco Iris Youth and Community Arts Center with a grant from the Davis Foundation. A few years later, the Holyoke Planning Network, a partnership of local colleges and community programs, worked with the University of Massachusetts to obtain a Community Outreach Partnership Center (COPC) grant from Housing and Urban Development (HUD). A project of this grant was to further develop the workshops through a collaboration that included area institutions of higher learning and local after school programs.
It is hoped that this on-line version will evolve to become an interactive forum for campus-community partnerships to further develop and refine their partnerships and the workshops.