News

Waterbury Youth Services to Launch New IT Afterschool Program to Close the Gender Gap in Technology

Waterbury Youth Services, Inc. has been awarded a $7,357 grant from the Women’s Giving Circle at Connecticut Community Foundation to launch an after-school IT club based on the nationally acclaimed Girls Who Code program for high school students.

Information technology (IT) is a booming sector of the economy. All professions, including traditionally female professions in health and education, are being reimagined through technology. Those with IT abilities will enjoy a distinct advantage in the job market.

But girls are lagging behind. Nationally, computer programming classes attract 20% of the boys but fewer than 10% of girls. And while 20% of male college freshmen intend to major in computer science, only 4% of females do (source: National Center for Women & Information Technology).

According to WYS Executive Director Kathi M. Crowe, “Girls comprise a small minority of Waterbury high school students learning IT. We want to help correct that imbalance. By encouraging more girls – especially those living in homes below the poverty line – to take advantage of IT education and giving them easy access to it, we will increase their prospects for future economic success.”

Enrollment is now open for WYS’ Girls Who Code program, which will begin October 5, 2018. Over the course of 35 weeks, club members will learn computer software on Fridays from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. in the Computer Lab of WYS, located at 83 Prospect Street, Waterbury. In addition to learning code, club members will participate in field trips, team projects, and hear from multiple guest speakers in IT.

Graduates will demonstrate mastery of beginner coding through their ability to complete the curriculum, and to develop, as a team, a project such as a website, app, or game. Club members will submit their project to Girls Who Code, Inc. which publishes top projects on its website.

Girls Who Code clubs are in all fifty states and have served 90,000+ girls. Girls Who Code teaches soft and hard skills including teamwork, confidence, and communication; along with the concepts of functions, variables, conditionals, and loops that form the basis of all programming languages. For more information, visit GirlsWhoCode.com

The Women’s Giving Circle at Connecticut Community Foundation is a diverse group of community-minded people who want to improve and enrich the lives of women and girls in Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills. For more information, contact Heidi Green, Director of Development at Connecticut Community Foundation 203.753.1315, x113.

Waterbury Youth Services, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit charity serving 1,000 youth and their families each year through 22 programs including: Juvenile Justice, Mentoring, Truancy Prevention, Homeless Youth Resource Center, Youth & Family Emergency Services, Afterschool Programs, and Child Abuse Interdisciplinary Team.

>>Click here for more information on this program

Waterbury Youth Services to Jump-Start Careers in Health Care for Young People

Waterbury Youth Services has been awarded a $81,533.51 grant from the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board to launch Career Builders in Health” to train, certify, and place young adults ages 16 to 24 into Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) jobs, followed by supports that help participants pursue a post- secondary education.

“The health professions are a major growth sector of the economy,” says Waterbury Youth Services’ Executive Director Kathi M. Crowe. “The demand for Certified Nursing Assistants continues to rise. At the same time, successful CNAs are well-positioned to further their educations and become Physical Therapy Assistants, Nurses, Paramedics, Pharmacy Technicians, and other health professionals with associate degrees.”

After job placement, Career Builders in Health will provide mentoring and peer support to enhance on-the-job performance. Additional workshops and personal counseling will guide participants toward a two-year medical training program of their choice.

“The Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board promotes business growth and economic opportunity by expediting talent matching and provides access to training programs that address skill gaps,” says Catherine N. Awwad, Executive Director of Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board. “We’re excited to partner with Waterbury Youth Services on this new initiative that is designed to encourage participants to use their CNA experience as a stepping stone to further job opportunities in the health field.”

Waterbury Adult Education will be a leading partner in this program. Their curriculum will incorporate classroom learning with clinical experience in a local nursing home

WYS has begun the recruitment phase of Career-Builders in Health, which is completely free of charge to eligible participants. To qualify, young adults must be 16 to 24 years old, not enrolled in an educational program and unemployed or underemployed in minimum-wage jobs.

Update: Program slots have been filled

>>Click here for more information on this program

Waterbury Youth Services Doubles Impact on After School Programs for Teens through CHEFA Grant

Waterbury Youth Services has been awarded a $41,394 grant from Connecticut Health & Education Facilities Authority (CHEFA) to double the size of its after-school program for high school students, Linking Academics to Life, for the 2018/2019 school year.

Linking Academics to Life (LAL) is a free afterschool program that helps students excel in academics while learning critical time management and life skills. The program runs Monday-Thursday from 3pm-5pm and students can choose to enroll in one of four focus areas: Journalism, Entrepreneurial Program, Woodworking, or Senior Preparation. Tutoring and homework assistance is offered every day.

“Each year, we have a long wait list of students trying to get into our LAL program,” says Waterbury Youth Services’ Executive Director Kathi M. Crowe. “This CHEFA grant will allow us to nearly double the capacity of our LAL program. The impact will be far reaching and life changing, as in recent years, 100% of LAL seniors get into college, according to Crowe.

“CHEFA is pleased to support Waterbury Youth Services’ after school program for high school students. The Linking Academics to Life Program prepares students and their families with college and career planning and valuable life skills, providing opportunities as they move to the next stage of their lives” said Jeanette Weldon, Executive Director for CHEFA.

Students in the LAL program must attend school daily in order to participate and maintain a minimum C grade point average. If they fall below a C, the program provides individual tutoring. In addition to the four focus areas and tutoring components, LAL youth participate in themed celebrations, college tours, financial literacy workshops, community service, and other activities. Monthly "Family Nights" educate parents on the school system and college application process, and encourage parent participation in the LAL program.

Youth are also offered monthly stipends dependent on school and program attendance and academic achievement. This serves as an additional motivator and way to increase school performance. It also allows youth who might otherwise have to work after school to participate in the program and focus on their academics. The LAL focus areas offer experience that can translate into valuable employment skills.

For more information, contact Kathi Crowe at 203-573-0264 x 301.

A Heartfelt Thank You

Heartfelt thank you to everyone who donated to Waterbury Youth Services during Give Local sponsored by Connecticut Community Foundation. By supporting WYS, you affirmed your confidence in our efforts to guide youth to discover their unique talents and potential for success. Thank you for being a partner in strengthening our community! We are so grateful for your support.

Never Give Up

Never give up and pay it forward is the message from CJ, WYS student since 2014. "Kids go through a lot at home, at school. It’s easy to give up. WYS has been a big support system for me. Once you start there, you feel like family. WYS has always given me somewhere to go, kept me out of trouble, kept me in the right state of mind. It’s just been a really big help. I love music. I love dancing, especially Hip Hop and R&B. I love working with kids. So now, I’m a volunteer dance instructor at WYS. I hope to have the same effect on the kids that WYS had on me."

National Safe Place Week

Special thanks to the Waterbury Mayor's Office for proclaiming March 18 - 24, 2018 as National Safe Place Week to bring attention to the programs in place to assist youth in crisis. Safe Place is essential as it connects youth to services when they are in crisis and need help the most. Waterbury has 14 sites, including the city’s fire houses, throughout the city designated as sites for young people experiencing crisis, whether it be homelessness, abuse, neglect or physical violence.

Pictured (from left): Joseph Geary, Waterbury Youth Services staff, including Youth & Family Emergency Services Director Marianne Malanaphy, Director of Program Operations Laura Cummings and Executive Director Kathi Crowe, and on the right, Waterbury Assistant Fire Chief Michael Couture.

Santa’s Workshop Sponsors

On behalf of Waterbury Youth Services and Santa's Workshop, we would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our sponsors and to all of our auction item donors. Their generous contribution and continued support helped to make this year’s event a great success! Santa’s Workshop, together with our caring community, help to brighten the holidays for hundreds of local youth and their families in the Greater Waterbury Area!

Reasons To Be Thankful

"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving."~W.T. Purkiser.

We have many reasons to be thankful this holiday season! Because of the generosity of our supporters and our caring community, we were able to provide a Thanksgiving feast for all of our youth and their families and distribute Thanksgiving baskets with everything needed to cook a complete turkey dinner to 90 families.

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make it possible for all of our families to have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal:

  • Ginny Ciochetti and the Marie & Pat Ciochetti Foundation donated 40 turkeys to give out to our families.
  • KBE Building Corp in Farmington and their staff collected and delivered 50 boxes full of everything needed for a complete Thanksgiving dinner to our Agency.
  • LaBonne’s Market in Watertown allowed Waterbury Youth Services to collect donations for our Thanksgiving food drive at their store.
  • The coaches, parents and students of the Sacred Heart Soccer Team cooked and severed dinner to 100 of our youth and their family members.
  • Waterbury Youth Services staff, interns and volunteers collected, sorted, packed and gave out donations.

Preparing For A Successful Future

Youth from our after school programs attended several college fairs/days this month! Our WIOA (Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act) program attended the Danbury College Fair, where they had the opportunity to learn about the 220 colleges/universities/programs that are available to them. They also were able to spend one on one time with advisors and college students. Our Senior Prep Program attended the Boys & Girls Club College Day and Woodworking and Entrepreneurial Program attended the CJR College Day.These field trips are just one of the many ways our programs help youth work towards a successful future and to accomplish their goals.

Connecting Youth To Nature

Through Disney's "Reverse The Decline, Increase the Time" initiative, youth at our Kiwanis Camp are learning about the magic of nature! Waterbury Youth Services is participating in the 2017 Disney 4-H Connecting Youth to Nature Grant. The grant gives youth the opportunity to increase the time they spend exploring the great outdoors. Through a series of nature walks and art projects the youth are learning about nature and ways we can help protect our environment to make it a better place.