Finding programs during the summer for teenagers living in the Arbor Hill and West Hill neighborhoods can be a challenge. Understanding this, the Underground Railroad Project of the Capital Region put together a 5-week summer institute for over 30 neighborhood teens.
The Young Abolitionists Teen Scholars’ Institute is an interdisciplinary, multi-sensory, service-learning program connecting students to their community’s history and heritage. The results are extraordinary. Young people learn how to work together, build leadership and work-readiness skills, develop healthy living and financial literacy experiences and feel empowered to become more civically engaged.
“It is inspiring to see what can happen through collaborative grantmaking,” said Shelly Connolly, Vice President for Community Grantmaking. This year the Foundation was able to reach out to several funds to share programs that we thought would pique their charitable interests. These efforts resulted in the Judith Fund, Times Union Hope Fund and Review Foundation joining forces by investing in this unique summer experience for teens.
Through the program, teens develop leadership skills through the inspiring stories of our Capital Region Underground Railroad heroes. Learning tracks included: movie production, carpentry, visual and dramatic arts, archeology, and research. These experiences supported creative storytelling from the past which helped participants find their unique voice to tell their own story.
As our world changes, the Community Foundation continues to focus on bringing donors together to positively impact our region. Grant stories like these prove that we are stronger together than we could ever be alone.