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About Rochester Youth Year

The Challenge

Urban youth in Rochester face extraordinary challenges rooted in extreme poverty. The city ranks among the highest in the nation for the poverty rate, with nearly 42% of youth (18 and under) living in poverty citywide. In some neighborhoods, as many as 9 in 10 children live in poverty. The ramifications of extreme poverty have become entrenched and are far-reaching.

The Opportunity

The Rochester Youth Year (RYY) Fellowship is an AmeriCorps*VISTA sponsored program administered by the Rochester Regional Network (RRN), a consortium of seven local colleges:

The College at Brockport
Nazareth College
Roberts Wesleyan College
Rochester Institute of Technology
St. John Fisher College
SUNY Geneseo
University of Rochester

RYY places talented recent graduates of RRN colleges in community-based organizations for one year to create or expand initiatives that address the various challenges facing youth and families in Rochester.




The Goals of RYY

Alleviating the Effects of Poverty on Youth

RYY Fellows will work with their host organization and necessary stakeholders to develop measurable, sustainable services and programs that address the self-identified needs of Rochester's youth and aim to build on their strengths and assets.

Strengthening Communities

RYY Fellows will work to build the capacity of their host organizations to develop and/or enhance programs that engage youth and families in positive and productive activities and initiatives. Equally important, RYY Fellows will work to empower youth and families to take an active role in improving their own neighborhoods.

Promoting Civic Engagement and Community-Centered Leadership

RYY Fellows will create lasting partnerships between the community, their host organizations, and their alma mater. Serving as role models and liaisons, they will engage college communities in substantial opportunities to contribute to the life of the Rochester community.

RYY Successes

Since its inception:

  • 65 RYY Fellows have completed a year of service in pursuit of the RYY mission at 37 different community partner organizations.
  • Half of the RYY Fellows have chosen to remain in Rochester following their service, whether to pursue graduate studies or to continue to work in the community.

In the four years since RYY became an AmeriCorps VISTA project, it has:

  • Mobilized over 5,800 community volunteers, who in turn have logged over 64,100 hours of service.
  • Generated over $1,075,900 of cash and in-kind resources for their projects in the community.

Most importantly, youth have been engaged as an essential asset to improve their communities through service learning, youth entrepreneurship, health promotion, or creative expression.