Fresh Youth Initiatives, Inc. (FYI) is a youth development organizations located in New York’s upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights. FYI encourages the efforts of young people in the community to design and conduct community service projects.
In 1993, Fresh Youth Initiatives began working with a handful of young people, promoting the value of volunteerism through community service learning. With guidance, young people were able to identify problems they saw in their neighborhood and design community service projects, thus creating their own solutions. The model, based on youth as assets, has been capable of affecting great change through cultivation. Since 1993, FYI has built upon their original foundation. Today, the organization and its young participants have become well known staples to the Washington Heights community.
The organization has established signature programs, like its Community Youth in Action (CYA), an afterschool program where youth participate in service projects that address the community’s aesthetics, hunger, homelessness and more. Additionally, FYI participants operate the only youth-lead food pantry in New York City, the Helping Hands Food Pantry, which provides meals to residents in need. In 2012, the pantry distributed over 6,000 food packages, a value of $40,000 to an average of 300 families every month.
Fresh Youth Initiatives, Inc. maintains a sense of family within the confines of its facility as well as throughout the larger community. The organization holds a strong retention rate among its youth, with the average participant remaining active in the program for five years.