social capital noun. the value of our social networks & relationships

Youth Leadership Programs

SCI gives youth the opportunity to build relationships, gain real experience, and put their ideas into action.

The SCI Youth Grant Pitch Contest engages youth-led groups in community projects that address the mental health needs of their peers.  The program puts young people in the driver’s seat of positive change, while providing them with the guidance, monetary resources and social capital they need to make a real impact.

Teams of young people work with volunteer coaches who provide guidance as they develop their project concepts and presentations. They will create a youth-led project to address the mental health needs of their peers, developing valuable skills in the process. The teams present their projects to a panel of volunteer judges, who will provide available funding for the winning teams to implement their projects in their communities.

Leaders for an Equitable Tomorrow (LET)

SCI partnered with Winchester-based Network for Social Justice to develop LET, a youth development program for high school age youth. Funded through a CHNA15 DoN collaborative grant from Lahey Hospital and Medical Center and Winchester Hospital, LET participants have been learning about the intersection of youth mental health and racial justice. This program includes a paid summer internship program, which prioritizes youth from families that could benefit from the paid opportunity. This past summer, LET interns worked on the creation of a youth mental health web resource platform.

SCI joined with another local nonprofit organization, the Network for Social Justice (NFSJ), to develop and implement the LET program. The LET program began in the summer of 2021, with participating teens exploring the intersection of racism and mental health through a series of workshops and needs assessment gathering processes. A core group of the initial LET participants met during the spring of 2022 and established the development of this platform as the LET project for summer of 2022.

The initial funding for the LET program came through CHNA 15 DoN funds from Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. Cummings Properties provides major funding for SCI & NFSJ.

SCI AmeriCorps

The SCI AmeriCorps program, which we have been operating since 2007, builds the capacity of youth-serving organizations in Boston, Lawrence, Lowell, Chelsea, Lynn and Woburn to address the need to connect underserved youth with the people, experiences, and resources that increase their prospects for success. These connections are important forms of social capital, a term that refers to the collective value of all social networks. SCI places up to 25 full-time AmeriCorps Members at youth-serving nonprofit organizations to enhance their ability to engage volunteers and offer youth enrichment programming.

Social Capital Youth Projects

Every year, all SCI AmeriCorps Members facilitate a group of youth to develop and implement a Social Capital Youth Project. The project will focus on community needs identified by the youth & members. The goal is to empower youth to positively impact their communities and build their social capital through collaboration with peers and adults while developing leadership skills.