BCTR researchers have just received grants from Engaged Cornell that will help to connect their youth research and learning to local communities.
ACT for Youth Director Jane Powers received a $5,000 Engaged Opportunity Grant to work with undergraduate design students and two Tompkins County organizations on interior designs for a new youth homeless shelter.
And Max Kelly, an undergraduate Human Biology Health and Society major and research assistant with ACT for Youth, received a $1,000 grant to analyze how gender and sexual identity affect youth’s access to health care.
The grants are part of a university-wide program to build community engagement by creating partnerships between students, faculty and local organizations.
The project led by Powers in collaboration with Design and Environmental Analysis (DEA) Professor Gary Evans will bring together undergraduate design students and local youth who experience unstable housing to design an emergency shelter for homeless youth. They will partner with Tompkins Community Action, a local non-profit that serves low income families, and the Learning Web, a community-based youth mentoring organization.
“I’m excited to be involved in this community-university collaboration that aims to better serve vulnerable youth in Tompkins County,” Powers said. “We will engage Cornell students to conduct focus groups with youth who experience homelessness and then use that data to design a new youth shelter that will appeal to and meet their needs.”
DEA students working on the project will use focus group data to develop design guidelines and working drawings of interior details. Powers said she hopes it turns into a long-term relationship between the local organization and Cornell students.
Kelly wants to take a careful look at access to health care for youth because there is a significant increase in the rate of sexually-transmitted diseases among adolescents in New York State. And there is little evidence about how gender and sexual identity affect the health and access to medical care for youth.
“I hope this information will strengthen the work that ACT for Youth is doing to promote adolescent sexual health and guide future projects for the Department of Health,” Kelly said.
He will begin working on the project during the January intersession and should have findings available in early spring.