What is Stewardship?
Time and time again Educators have stated that the best part about working for Solar Youth is witnessing young people develop identities as Stewards - of their environment, communities, friends, family and themselves.
Solar Youth Stewards keep their neighborhoods clean and beautiful. They serve as mentors to young children. They learn to work as a team to solve important problems. They pick each other up. They work hard to develop the personal qualities and professional skills that will benefit them in adulthood. They take care of the world around them, benefiting us all. As it turns out, Educators aren’t the only ones who take notice, our youth’s parents and neighbors notice too!
“TJ really enjoys helping other kids out. When he sees his peers having problems he is always ready to help out. He has really overcome his shyness since coming to solar Youth. He has grown up a lot” - Elizabeth Yarbrough, Steward's grandmother
Because of Solar Youth, “[Mariah] cares about the impact littering has on animals. Also the effects of trash on the environment” - Jessica Delgado, Steward's mother
Stewardship is at the heart of all of Solar Youth’s programs. What does Stewardship mean to us? Here are just a few examples from this past season!
...helping a friend in need! During our October journey through the Lyman Orchards corn maze, Shekinah was feeling tired and daunted by the challenge. Jose held her hand, encouraged her, and together they helped the whole group persevere, taking stock of their collective strengths and strategies.
...caring for our waterways! This fall, Heaven, Aalexus, and Naszaya learned about the West River and the variety of resources that the river provides to New Haven. They came to understand how to better care for the river and how the river cares for them
...being a good neighbor! This fall, Ja'Day learned about the importance of healthy eating, and she wanted to share what she learned with her community. She made healthy sandwiches to distribute to her neighbors along with a lesson about the importance of a healthy diet.
...making sure that everyone is safe and supported! On the fall Intern retreat our Stewards learn about group dynamics, safety, trust, leadership, and support.
...offering to teach helpful math tricks to a friend as he does his homework. Jordi heard that Tomas was confused about solving an equation, and he sat right down next to him to pass on some useful tools he'd learned himself. "Kids Teach!"
...allowing your friends to be themselves!
...taking care of your friends (and their siblings)! One of our youngest Stewards Marcus was really sad that his brother couldn't come on the East Rock Field Trip. His brother's friend DJ saw the boy's tears and stepped up as big brother to comfort him.
...bundling up to beautify the neighborhood. Westville Manor Stewards Chasity, Curtisy, and Jordi didn't hesitate to pick up the litter around Solar Youth's office and neighboring buildings. Their reason? "So people can enjoy the outdoors!"
...learning how to be a good teacher and mentor! Before every season, teenage Interns learn new games intended to create healthier, more cohesive teams in a fun and engaging way. Interns practice these games during training and then facilitate them during the season with their teams of younger Stewards.