May 3, 2010 | General
CAT has been awarded one of only two multi-borough contracts from the NYS Department of Health AIDS Institute for a new five-year project that will begin in June. Through Project CHANGE (Community Health Action in Neighborhoods for Growth and Empowerment), CAT will develop, train, and mentor a cohort of CHANGE Agents – student leaders from York and Medgar Evers Colleges – to use drama strategies to advocate for and play a key role in sustained coalition-building for community change. Among the partner organizations are CUNY’s Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy and Office of Public Affairs.
The goal of the initiative, in the words of the AIDS Institute, is to strengthen community support for optimum youth sexual health. This encompasses both the physical and social-emotional aspects of well-being that enable young people to make positive life choices. To that end, Project CHANGE will addresses factors that threaten that outcome, such as poverty, crime, early pregnancy, and other risks by partnering with local organizations and leveraging the power of CUNY’s deep ties to those communities.
The selection of Change Agents will be highly competitive; those admitted to the program will receive stipends for their work. Each CHANGE Agent who successfully completes the two-semester program will also be awarded a CUNY Certificate of Achievement and an additional stipend directed toward tuition support. CAT is currently working with the Leadership Academy to structure a recruitment and selection protocol.
The NYS DOH AIDS Institute is a 17-year funding partner of CAT. Previous grants have supported the development and implementation of CAT’s pioneering Healthy Choices program in high schools, which has engaged more than 5,000 young people in learning about HIV/AIDS in the context of exploring strategies for making positive life choices. Project CHANGE will build upon the accomplishments and lessons learned over the course of the partnership.