The mission of Chinatown Youth Initiatives (CYI) is to empower New York City youth with the knowledge and skills necessary to address the needs of Chinatown, Asian Americans, and other underrepresented communities. By providing a safe and supportive environment, CYI works to build a legacy of leaders who strengthen awareness of self-identity and community issues through project initiatives.
In addition, CYI strives to foster the developmental growth of New York City youth socially, and emotionally. In order to fulfill its mission, CYI develops curricula, projects, and other programming with the following three core values in mind: Exploration, Education, and Empowerment.
With a focus on identity development, CYI youth are encouraged to explore the multifaceted ways in which they identify themselves. Moreover, youth are given the opportunity to explore the varying identities and perspectives of family, peers, and other groups in society. Through this, youth are trained to be more reflective and observant of their diverse surroundings.
In addition, CYI youth explore topics in history and society that are often not addressed in traditional high school curricula. With the support of program facilitators, advisors, and community leaders, CYI’s workshops and trainings include a wide range of issues that affect Chinatown, Asian Americans, and other underrepresented communities, spanning such disciplines as history, literature, sociology, anthropology, arts, and media.
CYI youth also work on building skills in a number of areas such as leadership, communication, public speaking, writing, project management, community organizing, interpersonal relationships, self-management, and taking responsibility for self and others. These new skills help youth to feel more empowered to make changes not only in their personal lives but also in their communities. CYI’s tremendous network of resources, from alumni and advisors to leaders and other members of the community, also support youth to confidently pursue community projects and initiatives that will make a difference in the world.