Directions For Our Youth-Healthy Village Initiative is a community engagement, youth leadership program that addresses the disparities in quality health and community resources for residents living in the South Bronx. The DFOY Healthy Village trains middle school students to become community advocates for change within their neighborhood by incorporating youth leadership issue research and advocacy curriculum. As a result, 40 middle school students are now equipped to advocate for change.
The South Bronx faces two major health problems 1. the effects of long term generational poverty on the mental condition of the residents specifically children and families 2. the effects of environmental neglect on residents who have high levels of diabetes, asthma, obesity and other other physical ailments. The challenge in the South Bronx is activating residents to participate in using health resources and wellness options. More than 50% of youth in the South Bronx will not graduate college.
This project will create a replicable model of how to engage neighborhood youth in other poverty stricken neighborhoods to be advocates for change within their community. The project will solve the problem of lack of cohesive youth leadership on issues of gang violence, health disparities and poverty within the South Bronx. The project will train youth to become social engineers for their communities by working with residents to become politically engaged while working with their youth peers.
The community will become politically engaged to create change and improve their circumstances. Each year we will educate 40 youth community members to become Urban Ambassadors for the South Bronx each year of the project. The community benefits by having residents who are trained to be active community advocates who have the cultural lexicon to interact and communicate with the most disconnected, hard to reach youth and adults.