In 2016, Hobart and William Smith Colleges joined the Rochester Regional Network (RRN), a consortium of seven local colleges, in administering the Rochester Youth Year (RYY) Fellowship, a one-year, youth-centered service program for graduates of RRN colleges.
Through the AmeriCorps VISTA-sponsored social justice program, selected fellows work with host organizations and local stakeholders like the Rochester City School District, the Greater Rochester Summer Learning Association and Young Women’s College Prep, among others, to combat poverty among Rochester area’s youth population. Fellows are tasked with developing measurable, sustainable services and programs that address the self-identified needs of Rochester’s youth and aim to build on their strengths and assets.
“The Rochester Youth Year Fellowship allows our graduates to be able to contribute to the city in meaningful ways and make connections in the Rochester area,” says Katie Flowers, director of the HWS Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. “Already HWS students are successfully applying to the program. One position has been offered and I anticipate more will shortly to follow.”
In the seven years since RYY became an AmeriCorps VISTA project, it has mobilized nearly 6,000 community volunteers, who in turn have logged more than 64,100 hours of service. The program has also generated more than $1 million in cash and in-kind resources for community projects.
Other RRN members include SUNY Brockport, Nazareth College, Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John Fisher College, SUNY Geneseo and University of Rochester.
Looking to the future, Flowers anticipates engaging the Geneva community organizations in the RYY program. “It is my hope that Geneva non-profit youth serving agencies would also be able to host Rochester Youth Year AmeriCorps members,” she says.
RYY is accepting student applications. Interested seniors can apply here.
RYY on Facebook.