Seeds for change

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Southern New Hampshire University
Seeds For Change, a newly formed nonprofit organization, creates after-school and weekend jobs for youth in the city of Syracuse, New York. The project works with residents in the inner city Syracuse communities where they live, engages youth and volunteers in the improvement of city neighborhoods through physical improvements in greenspace and streetscapes, and works to reverse the trend of disinvestments in Syracuse city neighborhoods by enhancing the livability of neighborhoods. To affect these changes, the project increases the household income of low-income youth employees, teaches employment skills, and fosters both the work ethic and civic commitment of participants. Through physical improvements, the project enhances the livability of neighborhoods while increasing property values and encouraging reinvestment in city neighborhoods. The success of the project will be determined by the participation of community residents in planning and operations, the total area of quality open space created for resident use, the performance of youth employed through the program with regard to attendance and productivity, a visual survey of community condition, and surveys of resident perceptions of their community before and after project completion.The target community is composed of residents of Syracuse, New York's inner city neighborhoods, with a particular emphasis on the deteriorating neighborhoods of the south and near-west sides of the city. Of importance to the project, sufficient political and community will to address the issue appears to exist in these communities, with residents expressing the desire to address the issue of abandoned housing in their midst through community meetings and letters to local media. Specific groups targeted by the project are youth employed through the project, project coordinator/mentors employed through the project, and residents of the neighborhoods immediately surrounding our greenspace and streetscape projects. (Author abstract)