Onondaga County System of Care

How To Get Involved

How To Get Involved

What Is Youth Involvement?

Youth involvement is actively engaging youth in positive learning environments with challenges and opportunities for growth academically, emotionally and physically. Youth involvement helps develop individual and group participation in various situations – support groups, youth planning committee, decision-making, volunteer work, sports, the arts, music and relationship building.

Youth should be active in the decisions that affect them. The greater the youth involvement in decisions, the more active they are in youth engagement and the stronger the connection with the community. Youth should always have a seat at the table because their input is important!

Why is youth involvement important?

Youth involvement is important because all young people need support and opportunities to be involved in positive youth development. Youth development is engaging youth in building the knowledge and skills to meet their social and personal needs and to become healthy, happy and successful members of their community.

Youth involvement also helps them:

  • understand and value their experience with the mental health/child welfare/juvenile justice systems,
  • learn how to be an effective community leader,
  • learn how to be a mentor and how to recruit and train other youth, and
  • be a part of the change in how community agencies and organizations work with youth

Youth are the experts in their field. They know what works for them and what doesn’t. Youth have a unique perspective they bring to the table which allows their input to benefit everyone involved from the case management level to the administrative level.

How can youth get involved?

Our project goal is to encourage youth to stand up for change by letting their voices and actions be heard.  We encourage youth to get involved in program activities and youth leadership training with friends, family, neighbors and acquaintances they meet along their journey to understanding the meaning of resiliency.

Be an advocate for yourself and other youth by getting involved. One voice can change the minds of many.

There are a number of ways you can become involved.

Full Stakeholder Meetings are typically held the first Monday of the Month from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm at Bethany Baptist Church (149 Beattie Street). The meetings are open to any interested individual and are used as a forum to discuss pressing issues in children’s mental health, what we can do about them and to help prioritize OnCare efforts.

Work Groups typically meet once a month and are structured around specific projects.

Click here for a description of each work group.

Contact Bruce Brumfield at bbrumfield@communityalternatives.org for more information and to get involved!

Resources For Youth

Cross, T, Bazron, B., Dennis, K. and Isaacs, M. (1989). Towards a Culturally Competent System of Care. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Child Development Center, National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health.

Catholic Charities Refugee Youth Outreach Program
The Refugee Youth Outreach Program provides recreation, tutoring, homework assistance, and other supports to refugee children. http://www.ccoc.us/services/index/refugee-youth-outreach-program

The Q Center
The Q Center is a safe place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth and their allies to gather, share, hang out, have fun, and build healthy relationships with supportive adults and peers. It is a great place to make new friends. The Q Center offers support groups, educational support, counseling services, social events, HIV/STD education and testing, opportunities for community involvement, and support for Gay-Straight Alliances and schools. http://www.aidscommunityresources.com/content.cfm/Services/youth-center

The Spanish Action League – La Liga
The mission of La Liga is to build on the rich cultural heritage of the Latino community by advancing its independence and growth through advocacy, counseling and education. The Our Future Program (Nuestro Futuro) is a free program that helps young students through tutoring, homework help, hands-on learning, cultural activities, and school mediation. Nuestro Futuro also helps students’ English proficiency. http://www.laligaupstateny.org/programs-youth.php

The Southwest Community Center
SWCC provides a network of human services to residents of the southwest inner-city of Syracuse through special events, outreach efforts, prevention, intervention, employment and educational services, support, peer and mentoring groups, and collaborative programs. http://www.smnfswcc.org/

Whole Me Inc.
Whole Me provides educational and social services designed to promote the success of deaf and hard of hearing individuals, their families and their communities. www.wholemeinc.org

Catholic Charities Neighborhood Centers
Centers support children and their families by providing safe, secure after-school destinations in five Syracuse neighborhoods. There is no fee to participate.  www.ccoc.us/services/neighborhood-centers-programs/neighborhood-centers

The Determination Center
The Determination Center of Central New York serves children and adults in Syracuse’s South and Near West neighborhoods. While many of its programs service children and adults with disabilities, all are welcomed by its dedicated leader, Bettie Graham. Services provided include a Family Support Program, Community Integration Experiences, Peer Programs, a Job Accommodation Network, and Educational Programs aimed at prevention.

Camillus Town Shoppe
The mission of the Town Shop is to provide a rich and consistent array of the ingredients (People, Places, and Possibilities) that young people need to encourage and support their personal growth and development.

CanTeen of Central New York
The CanTeen offers a safe place for teens, which are in 8th-12th grade, to hang out after school.  The CanTeen is a warm and welcoming environment where teens can get together with friends, play pool, ping pong, board games and basketball, eat and make food or connect with others.

Center for Community Alternatives Youth Services Programs
CCA has worked extensively with court involved young people and “at-risk” youth, developing exemplary programs and services. Youth Services afford special care and attention to both rehabilitation and community safety.  CCA houses OnCare’s Youth Leadership workshops and Onondaga Youth Move.  For more information about Youth Services Programs, contact Bruce Brumfield