Council Member Yvette Simpson speaks with community leaders prior to the presentation of the Youth Gap Analysis Study as part of the It’s Time to Wake the Village tour in August. (Photo by Andria Y. Carter).
CINCINNATI – “It Time to Wake the Village” tour is a success Council Member Yvette Simpson declared after completing a community discussion regarding the three-year YCC Youth Gap Analysis Study. The tour is a community outreach effort that began in 2016 to talk with grassroots community organizations that have programs or activities directed to youth.
“The work that we are doing right now is going out and sharing the results of the community based youth study with our different stakeholders and to enlist them to carry on the initiatives,” Simpson said. “What I love about the recommendations is it helps with community empowerment. By empowering our youth, we empower our neighbors and we help to empower people who want to improve their circumstances.”
In August, Simpson presented the Youth Gap Analysis Study to the Cincinnati Board of Education, and in October she will be presenting it to the Faith Community Alliance and to the leaders of the nine African-American fraternities and sororities. Simpson is also pleased that the Cincinnati Police Department, the Cincinnati Recreation Commission and the Poverty Collaborative also using the study as part of their work.
A staunch advocate for youth, Council Member Simpson recently held a community meeting with representatives from nine neighborhoods in which 50 percent of Cincinnati’s 77,000 youth live. Representatives from Avondale, East Price Hill, West Price Hill, Mt. Airy, Winton Hills, College Hill, Hyde Park, Mt. Washington and Westwood attended the meeting where they received a list of the study’s recommendations, which they can use as a blueprint to help them engage the youth in their communities.
The Youth Study’s 11 recommendations include a call for creating support groups for parents and at-risk teens, creating youth-friendly business campaign, community-based mentoring initiatives, expand teen programming and involve youth in decision making.
Simpson said the recommendations serve as a call to action for the neighborhoods and community organizations to engage their “village” to help connect our young people to Cincinnati communities. The organizations and neighborhoods are asked to examine who their stakeholders are in their community and bring them together.
“This is about building community capacity. This is a community-based study that worked with people on the ground. We are empowering individuals to have a positive impact on our young people,” Simpson said.
The Youth Commission of Cincinnati Youth Gap Analysis Study is a three-year study commissioned by Simpson and YCC to provide a complete report on the state of Cincinnati youth and provide insight to what our youth believe, experience and need. Community Builders Institute at Xavier University conducted the study focusing on six areas: Crime, Education, Health, Poverty and Homelessness, Workforce Development and Developmental Opportunities.
By listening to young people the report discovered youths from all socioeconomic backgrounds believe they will be successful. The report also revealed families and schools are the first support network for young people; youth experience and worry about violence; they want to get out and see the world; and they do not feel connected to their neighborhoods.
“We know that if we build up the insides of our young people to be resilient and resourceful and to be hopeful that they can get themselves through life. Even if we don’t have the resources right now to change the nature of their circumstances,” Simpson said.
Simpson explained that mentorship is key to help Cincinnati youth be successful. It has been stated over, and over again, it takes four positive adults to help a young person get through.
“All of us go from one level to the next, had help. I couldn’t go from being a lawyer to a council person without mentorship. Somebody had to show me. And after showing me and giving me the resources I needed to be successful. That’s the same way for our children,” she said.
To read or download the YCC Youth Gap Anslysis Study visit www.cincinnati-oh.gov/simpson/youth-commission-of-cincinnati .