Solar Youth, Inc.
Solar Youth's mission, developed by founding youth and adults, is to provide opportunities for young people to develop a positive sense of self and connection and commitment to others through programs that incorporate environmental exploration, leadership and community service.
All Solar Youth programs are based on our unique program model for urban environmental education: Kids Explore! Kids Do! Kids Teach! Following this model, youth investigate the local ecology of their community (Kids Explore!), identify environmental issues that affect the health of people and the natural environment, and seek solutions through a process of problem-solving and youth led action (Kids Do!), then teach what they have learned and accomplished to others through public education projects (Kids Teach!). Solar Youth targets youth who reside in New Haven's low income communities who have few opportunities to participate in environmental education or constructive out-of-school activities.
Since our founding, over 3,600 young people have participated in our programs. Over 200 are teenagers who have been trained and hired as co-leaders. Participants have completed over 230 youth-led community service action projects and 150 youth-led public education projects. And we have seen significant increases in ecological knowledge, problem-solving skills, self-esteem and self-confidence among our program's participants. Today, Solar Youth provides both out-of-school and in-school programs for 600 youth annually.