Taryn Sherman , Philanthropic Advisor for Youth Engagement Programs,
Community Youth Development
The Turner Community Youth Development Initiative (TCYDI) was initiated in 1997 with the intent to recognize the important role young people play in building healthy communities by supporting programs and activities that provide the necessary skills and emotional support youth need to lead healthy lives and follow their dreams. “Youth Development” was chosen as the focus of the initiative, because it encompasses a variety of issues, from skills development to community service. Grants are provided to priority communities for developmental programs that help young people reach their full potential and become and remain valued citizens in their communities. Activities include community service, after school programming, leadership training, entrepreneurship, health and athletics and job readiness.
In Northern New Mexico, students from Cimarron High School are working with Vermejo Park Ranch, the Abandoned Mine Land Project, and New Mexico Watershed Watch in a multi-year project to restore the Dillon Canyon Stream. During the historic mining period, large steep piles of coal mine waste material were dumped in the canyon, severely degrading the stream both physically and chemically. The goal of the project is to produce a reclaimed area that looks natural, and supports diverse vegetation typical of surrounding, undisturbed areas. Youth finished their work on the project in 2013 by planting cottonwood and willow seedlings to help reestablish a healthy riparian system. Students have been documenting their work on the project and will be producing a documentary scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2014.
Georgetown is located in South Carolina’s Lowcountry on Winyah Bay at the confluence of the Pee Dee, Waccamaw, and Sampit rivers. In partnership with the Seewee Association, Inc. (a Friends Group to the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge Center) and the Waccamaw Riverkeeper, students test and monitor water quality along the PeeDee River and Sampit Rivers in Georgetown County. On a weekly basis, students measure temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity levels, and note rainfall and tide changes. A staff member from the Riverkeeper helps the students analyze their findings, which are then used to develop actionable solutions to issues affecting water quality in the two rivers. One solution students have adopted, for example, is the “Adopt-a-Landing” initiative which coordinates landing and river cleanups.