Engaging Youth, Engaging Neighborhoods Program

“Engaging Youth, Engaging Neighborhoods” (EYEN) is a collaborative program between Neighborhood Resources Connection and University of Notre Dame professors and researchers, Maria McKenna and Stuart Green.   The program which began in 2011 develops youth empowerment by demonstrating how they can become effective change agents in their local neighborhoods and communities.

Students explore their neighborhoods and use a research method called Photovoice to tell the story of their community through photographs.  Using art, photography, and other forms of literacy, the program encourages youth to reflect on experiences, make connections in their neighborhoods, and work on justice issues and self-determination.

EYEN provides an opportunity for youth to learn how to engage in civic life which helps develop a new generation of community leaders.  “Key points of EYEN are creating a sense of community, creating a sense of voice, and creating a sense of democratic space,” says program partner Stuart Greene, a University of Notre Dame professor.

Projects from past EYEN classes include replacing an impassable sidewalk in the Monroe Park neighborhood, starting a youth leadership council, hosting two youth leadership summits, the renovation of Kelly Park on Howard Street, and formal neighborhood assessments and recommendations.  Past participants have also presented at national academic conferences on multiple university campuses, served as junior lead researchers in the EYEN program, served on the Mayor’s Youth Task Force, headed off to college, and demonstrated leadership in their neighborhoods and the community.

For the past three years EYEN also partnered with the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture, exploring the West Washington Street neighborhood in addition to their own. As a result of getting to know the West Washington area, the Notre Dame students serving as EYEN mentors developed assessments and recommendations for that neighborhood.

We will soon be recruiting students for our spring 2018 EYEN program, in which we will be partnering with the Near Northwest Neighborhood (NNN) and classes will be meeting in the NNN community room and exploring parts of the near northwest neighborhood. We will be hosting an information open house on December 7th at the NNN Community Room. Stay tuned for more details.

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If you would like to know more about the program, please contact Diana at 574.287.0425 or nrcneighbors@gmail.com.

Engaging Youth, Engaging Neighborhood Youth Application | Winter 2018