The Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City led this three-year project, in which a total of 30 youth from Atlantic City, ages 14-21, received guidance from trained community-based coaches, to better understand topics around population health, develop leadership skills, and implement self-designed projects to make their communities healthier. Through this project, the youth participants gained the skills, knowledge, and confidence to work with municipal governments, cross-sector coalitions focused on health, school boards, and other organizations to build healthier and more vibrant communities. The youth are also participating in a statewide alumni network to stay connected to their peers as they continue on their leadership paths and move into the next phases of their lives. To advance this work in Atlantic City, the Boys & Girls Club partnered with the NJHI-funded CareAC Coalition to give youth participants the opportunity to engage with community service providers to improve a community-wide health issue. Other partners include the City of Atlantic City, Stockton University, AtlantiCare and the Atlantic City Board of Education. These Atlantic City youth represented one of 10 New Jersey communities supported by the NJHI: Next Generation Community Leaders initiative.
In the first grant year, a team of Atlantic City youth worked to improve access to healthy foods by partnering with local food banks and the Care AC coalition to create a better system for allocating food, and in Summer 2018, developed communications resources to promote distribution locations to Atlantic City residents. In Summer 2019, a new youth team worked in partnership with Stockton University, AtlantiCare Foundation and the City of Atlantic City to help provide anti-bullying education to participants in the community’s summer schools and camps. Follow the team on Facebook, plus
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Hear alumni from the first-year Next Generation Community Leaders teams reflect on their work, the value of meaningful experiences and authentic adult-youth partnerships, and share new insights that developed a broader perspective.
View recommendations from this initiative:
Atkins, B. and Hart, D. Principles for Engaging Youth as Partners to Build Healthier Communities. Grantmakers in Health – Views from the Field. January 28, 2020.
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