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Youth Voices Summer Program - We Need Your Help!

Youth Voices Summer Program - We Need Your Help!

Written by Paul Allison
May 15, 2013

We need your help to offer a free Youth Voices Summer Program that will make it possible for youth to find and explore their passions in the supported, connected, academic environment of Lehman College, CUNY.



Some of us look forward to tending our gardens. Others to reading that novel we’ve had in mind for months. Or, maybe summer is the time to travel, start a new exercise routine, or take a class. We all look forward to changing our routines during the summer months.  Teachers and students alike often dream about their plans.   What if high school students could explore their passions through writing and connected learning?  Where could they do this?  The New York City Writing Project (NYCWP) at Lehman College, CUNY, situated on a gorgeously green campus in the Bronx, will host a free, three-week Youth Voices Summer Program from July 8 through 25, 2013.    We need your help to make this happen. A contribution from you will support 15 scholarships of $1000 each for high school students to attend this special summer offering. Please consider making a contribution at our IncitED campaign.

Deeper Summer Learning

The 2013 Youth Voices Summer Program which will be on the campus of Lehman College, CUNY will use a guided inquiry-based research process to build students’ knowledge. Students will cultivate new information, media, and perspectives, drawing upon both online and community-based resources.  As this process emerges, students will also share their work with their peers and others on Youth Voices. Two facilitators, experienced NYCWP Teacher Consultants, will guide students through a variety of challenges that provide unique ways of addressing the Common Core Learning Standards.  By the end of the three-week program, students will have produced and participated in about a dozen online discussions and will have written three extensive papers that will anchor their inquiries.   Students will have developed their capacities to investigate their own or a teacher’s questions, and they will have acquired the gumption and strategies to produce self-directed, authentic academic writing that honors their own voices, passions, and unique ways of working. By following their own questions and connecting school, home, and their communities to their particular interests, students will develop strong skills in literacy, self-confidence, and work that will be shared with others.

Summer of Making and Connecting

The 2013 Youth Voices Summer Program at Lehman College, CUNY will provide a blueprint that teachers around the country can use to implement connected, blended, passion-based, online learning, while at the same time making the instructional shifts we need to help students find success in the Common Core Learning Standards. Five teachers from New York City public schools will participate in the Youth Voices Summer Program so that they, too, can experience connected professional learning. Together, students and teachers will go deeply into one of their passions and produce a connected, online research project about one of their passions. We will produce a video about this work and connect our learning through the Summer of Making and Connecting. The National Writing Project’s Educator Innovator Initiative has provided seed money to support the launch of this special summer program.  These funds will offset costs for the teachers’ professional development, some instructional materials, and aspects of video production.

We Invite You to Join Us in this Adventure

We are turning to you and other friends for the additional $15,000 that is needed to support the costs of instructional guidance for 15 high school students who will attend this three-week summer program.    In order to offer this program free of charge, we need your support. The costs for this will be $1,000 for each student. No contribution is too small. Please consider making a contribution at our IncitED campaign. And even if you can’t contribute financially, you can help spread the word. Thank you for your help in making this dream come true. No matter what, Youth Voices is an openly networked space.  We invite you to join us there as well as in our work during weekly webcasts on Teachers Teaching Teachers

An alternative way to contribute

If you prefer to use postal delivery, please send a check payable to the Lehman College Foundation for the New York City Writing Project. Please include your name, address, and email address so we can thank you and also send you a reward. Send your check to: New York City Writing Project Institute for Literacy Studies Lehman College, CUNY 250 Bedford Park Blvd West Bronx, NY 10468

Other Ways You Can Help

If we exceed our goal, we could invite more youth to participate, open participation to remote online participants, include more teachers, or expand the documentary film making part of our project.  If you are not able to contribute financially, you can still help:

  • Get the word out and make some noise about this project. Please share a link with your networks! Every email, tweet, and post on Facebook will help!
  • Join us on Youth Voices.
  • Spread the word about connected learning, through these resources and our video.
  • Get update at and leave comments there as well.
  • Please use the InciteED share tools to let others know of our efforts!

Sponsors and Partners

New York City Writing Project The New York City Writing Project (NYCWP) at Lehman College, CUNY has an enduring record of success helping youth find their voice. During summer 2013, the NYCWP continues its 35-year tradition of hosting summer institutes for teachers and students.  In local Writing Projects across the country—including ours—teachers will spend four weeks as fellows in invitational institutes, where they become writers and learners again, share what works, and rethink their own practice. Extending our work for the past decade through advanced institutes in technology, these fellows will make use of new media as well.  All of these opportunities—for teachers and students—transform teaching and learning. Lehman College Foundation During summer 2013, we want to expand our offerings by engaging even more students through the Youth Voices Summer Program at Lehman College, CUNY. Your tax-deductible contributions will be collected by the Lehman College Foundation and managed by the NYCWP. Gooru During the Youth Voices Summer Program students will use Gooru to discover topic-relevant content covering a variety of multimedia resources, from videos and websites to interactive games and quiz questions. By organizing this content into collections students will be able to collaborate on and present their work to teachers and peers and create a digital portfolios of their learning. Using Gooru to learn such 21st century skills will allow students to document their growth and development throughout their formative education years and prepare them for both college and the workplace. Gooru is a free search engine for learning with 10 million online resources and 1 million questions, making it easy for teachers to discover topic relevant and standards-aligned content. Teachers can organize resources and quiz questions into learning playlists called collections to teach in the classroom or assign to students. Gooru is free of cost and ads, and is developed by a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to honor the human right to education. Here is a short introduction video to Gooru. P2PU School of Education The Summer Youth Voices Program will partner with the P2PU School of Education to provide a location for the Common Core-aligned challenges and tasks across various subject areas. Through P2PU, Youth Voices we will be awarding badges to students for the work they have completed there.  The P2PU School of Education brings the model of open, community-based peer learning to professional learning for K-12 teachers. It’s about hands-on learning driven by each educator’s particular needs and classroom situations. And our courses aren’t just for educators; we encourage youth and adults from outside of education to join us in explorations of learning, openness, maker activities, digital storytelling, and more.   Anyone can create or participate in a course on P2PU. All courses in this community are free, open-licensed (CC BY), and online. You can use the content in them for any purpose you like as long as you cite the source.

Thank you to all of our friends, sponsors, contributors, collaborators, and partners for your help in making this dream come true.


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