ERIC Number: EJ705882
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Aug-26
Berkeley's 'Best-Kept' Secret: National Summit Seeks to Involve Youth in How Communities Are Redeveloped
Black Issues in Higher Education, v21 n14 p40 Aug 2004
Bringing together youth and adults from 15 Hope VI projects around the country, the Youth Leadership for Change is the third national summit of its kind. HUD used to fund the program, but now support comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation. At least some participants say the experience has been invaluable. Now an international studies and marketing major at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Monique McKinstry helped start a youth board for Metropolitan Gardens, the community where she lived with her mother until the residences were demolished. "If youth (are) not there, it's not going to be good," says McKinstry, underscoring the raison d'etre for the national summits--to involve youth in the conversation about how communities are redeveloped. "In most of the developments, children and youth are over 20 percent of the communities," says Dr. Deborah McKoy, director of UC Berkeley's new Center for Cities and Schools, which will formally open in September. "We set out to find ways to engage them realistically, to share some of these tools as to how you actually talk to developers and public housing officials about what you think is important. With youth in the inner city, space is often the only thing they have ... their turf. If you take that away, they don't have a lot left." Professor David Dowell, director of the Institute for Urban and Regional Development, which will house the new center, says the program dovetails with research being conducted on campus. "It's a national outgrowth of our longstanding research about how to improve the quality of these housing developments," he says. "Our commitment is to look at how to link education and community development." By design, the program takes place on campus, with the youth living in dorms, in order to expose them to the college environment, many for the first time. To Earnest McDuffie, nothing could be more important. He recently completed an electrical engineering degree through a joint program of Georgia Southern University and Georgia Tech. McDuffie turned down engineering jobs to return home to work for the housing authority, engaging former residents in rebuilding the community. "My focus is on creating opportunities for the youth," says McDuffie. "It's a paradigm shift from self-sufficiency to independence, from rental to home ownership, from unemployed to employer. This program seems to be one of Berkeley's best-kept secrets."
Descriptors: Youth Leaders, Housing, Community Development, Urban Areas, Citizen Participation, Young Adults, Adolescents
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California