Teen Action Team Empowers Rochester Surround Care Community Youth to Have a Voice in the Community

The Rochester Surround Care Community—formerly, the Rochester Children's Zone—is on its way to providing a venue for Rochester youth to speak freely, be themselves, and showcase their talents without judgment. Fifteen youth from the Rochester Surround Care Community have headed up a new action team, Teen Action Team 2008 Street Outreach, to provide support to youth residing in the Rochester Surround Care Community. The action team, led by Nancy Ares, an associate professor at the Warner School, and Michelle Doyle, a Rochester Surround Care Community resident, is supported by a Rochester Surround Care Community Corp. grant.

Ares and her 15 Street Outreach youth can be found devoting their Monday and Friday afternoons for the remainder of the summer to visiting with other youth residents in the Rochester Surround Care Community. Together, they are disseminating information about the Rochester Surround Care Community initiative, providing information about relevant social services and youth-centered activities available in the area, and conducting a survey of more than 500 youth to help identify their needs, perceptions, and ideas about school and community life.

“Rochester youth have made it very clear that they want a voice in the Rochester Surround Care Community initiative,” says Ares. “Our work over the next few weeks will not only provide a venue for youth to voice their hopes, dreams, concerns, and perspectives, but also give our Street Outreach youth an opportunity to serve as leaders in the community and develop additional leadership skills.”

The Street Outreach youth and Ares will then analyze the survey data to inform a proposal for the future development of a peer tutoring and mentoring program for the Rochester Surround Care Community. They will present their findings to community leaders in the Rochester Surround Care Community, City Council, and the Rochester City School District.

The Rochester Surround Care Community, a nonprofit organization focusing on a more holistic approach of improving community life and helping children and families achieve in neighborhoods in the Northeast of the city, was created to advocate for all children, their families and the community that surrounds them. The geographic boundaries of the Zone are Norton to the North, Main Street to the South, Goodman to the East, and the Genesee River to the West. Iris Banister, a doctoral student at the Warner School, was recently named the first executive director of the Rochester Surround Care Community.


Tags: Nancy Ares, Rochester Children`s Zone, Rochester Surround Car Community, urban education, youth researchers