YES! Youth Economic Self-Determination is an innovative program that will generate employment opportunities for youth in a historically marginalized community. The program will work directly with young people, helping them develop a co-operative to address a key barrier to economic self-sufficiency: affordable, local childcare.
Through YES!, a group of local youth will receive a salary as they address long-term economic inequities, strengthen local self-determination, and build social resiliency in Brownsville, a central Brooklyn neighborhood that suffers from high rates of poverty, unemployment and incarceration, and historic and systemic marginalization.
- Build the power of young people across Brownsville to address community challenges;
- Generate employment opportunities for youth;
- Develop a replicable model of scalable, community-driven, equitable economic development.
YES! is organized by the Brownsville Community Justice Center and its partner Hester Street. These organizations will equip youth leaders with the skills, tools, and training needed to lead research, community engagement, neighborhood economic development, and small business planning. The long-term vision is to build a coalition of community-based organizations launching youth-led worker co-operatives across central Brooklyn that creates economic opportunity, equity, and justice for those communities left behind by Brooklyn’s booming economy.
The Brownsville Community Justice Center works to strengthen community trust in justice in central Brooklyn, while also reducing crime and incarceration. The Justice Center is a multi-faceted initiative that invests in local youth—both those who are justice-involved and those at risk of future justice involvement—in a range of programming and activities to provide them with pathways away from the justice system and toward education and employment, engage local businesses and community residents in reimagining and redesigning public spaces, and change negative narratives about the Brownsville neighborhood.
Hester Street is an urban planning, design and development nonprofit that works to ensure neighborhoods are shaped by the people who live in them. They offer planning, design and community development technical assistance to community-based organizations, government and other agencies. Their goal is equitable, sustainable and resilient neighborhoods and cities.
Video created by Kwesi Johnson, a program graduate and CEO/Founder of SCTR7