Looking back while facing forward...
November 2017
Youth Organizer/Princeton Prize Winner, Shalinda Bollar, joins TE staff!Shalinda
Shalinda has a knack for listening, analysis, drawing out youth voice and communicating challenging ideas. She poured these skills into her youth organizing work at TE.

Shalinda's recognition by the regional committee for the Princeton Prize on Race Relations was well-earned and served as a tribute to the hard work of her colleague youth organizers and our many community and district partners bringing joy and community back to learning in Rochester City Schools.
Now, we are so pleased to announce that Shalinda has joined our staff and will bring her gifts to support the 2017-18 YO group, which she is helping to hire now. 
Graduates!!  It takes a village...Village
Shout-outs to the Village!  ...including youth organizers' parents and grandparents, Jerome Underwood, Idonia Owens, Eileen Rivera, June Bailey, Megan Frein, Lisa Englert, Villa of Hope, and so many other behind-the-scenes folks at school, group homes, businesses and programs, that wrapped around and pushed along with TE and the youth organizers themselves to make it to graduation!
Nosym at Early College International HS graduation
Congrats & great work to YOs who graduated or completed your GED this year.  Best in your next steps.  We're here and can't wait to see what's to come!
Adair                          Freemont√°                    Gabby
Janetta                       Javell                           Michaelya
Nosym                        Shalinda                      Yusuf
PeaceBQ 2017 kicked off summertime rightGroove
The 2016-17 TE Youth Organizers hosted more than 560 youth at their neighborhood youth peace initiatives. The PeaceBQ Kickback was the last gathering and focused on kicking off a safe summer.  Often when the weather gets hot, conflicts boil over.  YOs countered this trend with elevating, encouraging songs that celebrated the plain joy of youthful days in summer.  Gratefully, the Southwest neighborhood saw few injuries and no homicides involving youth this summer.

Dare you to not groove to this instant classic...
 Click for video of YOs performing their original song, "Summertime!"
"Watch how we do this. Idle time, don't abuse it. Negativity just refuse it... "
Thank You! Donate
You inspire us! Donate

As much as TE youth organizers inspire everyone who meets them, we continue to be humbled by the love, encouragement and gifts our community shares with us.
Where Are YO-u Now?
Spotlight on a former Youth Organizer (YO)Abby
Abby Soto-Morales, YO 2006 @ 15 years old
Today, Age: 26
My most powerful TE memory is...
The annual youth conference "Rated Real" and seeing all of the young people who actually came out. I've never seen so many young people in one place. And me being able to talk about my culture, my "quince" and the need for more rites of passage for teens in the US.

A motto for life that I took from TE...
TE was the place where I had the opportunity to hear other people's stories and understand what people outside of my circle go through-which helped me understand the world better. I learned to see things from different points of view and become open minded. Even till this day, I automatically breakdown situations that happen with an open mind, analyzing all parties involved, not just one. No matter if it's family or a friend, I'm always trying to see the situation as is without being biased. Which I learned all with TE.

Where I'm at in life...
I'm a small business owner of a boutique called Jupe de Abby. Jupe de Abby is a faith-based company that caters in modest women's apparel located in Rochester NY. We carry a variety of sizes and specialize in trendy skirts, dresses, tops & accessories.

Website: www.jupedeabby.com.

I recently married in August of 2016. My husband reconnected me with TE when he was serving in a community engagement position with RPD.
What's next for me...
In the near future I plan to start a family with my husband and continue building my business and employing people. My goal one day is to buy or build a bigger stand-alone building for my company so I can expand and have full control of my company's growth potential.

My hope for Rochester is...
Above everything, I hope that Rochester becomes a better city to live in. I would love to see the poverty levels go down. For the crime rate and drug activity to minimize and stop destroying our community, overall opportunities need to be accessible to everyone regardless of race, gender or income. I hope that it becomes possible for everyone and anyone to reach their dream and goals.
Iraqi Student ExchangeStudentExchange
Young people from distant places-both across borders and within them-quickly connected when Teen Empowerment youth organizers hosted their peers from Northern Kurdish and Central Iraq, and from Greater Rochester, suburbs and city.
Youth shared laughter and empathy.  They debunked media images they had of one another.  They explored the overlapping and distinct issues they face in their communities.  By the end of the session, they were exchanging social media contacts and sent each other off with mad love as each seeks to shift mindsets and become change agents where they live.

Shout out to Rochester Global Connections for coordinating and reaching out to TE, Gandhi Institute and others to facilitate interactions.

Click for Channel 9 feature
YOs presented to nearly 400 principals and other school and 
central office leaders at the RCSD Leadership Summit.RCSD

"The Teen Empowerment students were powerful! They brought their "A-Game," invigorating, educating and helping us as adults and leaders remember the value of listening to our youth! They engaged us with thoughtful discussion and encouraged meaningful dialogue."

-Principal Laurel Avery-Detoy, Roberto Clemente School #8
RPD officers benefit from community-centered training RPD
There's been a lot of talk about how vital trust is between the community and our police department, and about the kinds of training and accountability that will help get us there.  Here's some of that conversation in case you have missed it.  TE takes on another facet of this work.  
YOs train 2017 RPD Police Academy recruits
In the spring, TE gathered police chiefs and officers from our three cities where we facilitate honest dialogue, youth-centered training for police academy recruits, and collaborative action planning for improving youth-police relations.  Here are Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli's reflections on the experience in the Democrat & Chronicle.
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