Worcester Youth Cooperatives provides free education and mentorship to under-served youth and young adults in the city of Worcester, Massachusetts. We support the capacity of program participants to coordinate their resources and abilities around individual and community needs and thereby aid and organize them in solving social problems. For that purpose, we have designed an 7-phase Youth Co-op Solutions Academy (YCSA) Curriculum and embedded it within a year-long cycle of youth mentorship, power-building, and cooperative ecosystem development.
The 7 phases (Seeds, Radicles, Roots, Trunks, Branches, Buds, Flowers) of our Co-op Academy culminates into a celebratory Graduation Flower-phase in early Summer.
During the summer, the youth embark on an intensive summer period of hard work within their co-ops. This summer season coincides with close mentorship to help them work through the kinks of the inner workings of their projects.
As Summer transitions to Fall, the youth evaluate the fruits of their learning and labor. Once the annual evaluation is completed, the youth and their adult allies and elders present their findings and enjoy the fruits of their labor during an annual Harvest Festival.
The Harvest Festival will serve as a celebratory Annual Meeting at which individual and collective achievements will be honored and relationships of solidarity will be reinforced. The Harvest Festival is also an opportunity for youth participants to literally and figuratively invite new youth to the table through recruitment.
Following the Harvest Festival, youth who are willing, able, and approved by the general membership and board to become facilitators and/or mentors during the next Co-op Academy season. Youth mentors and facilitators are trained toward the end of Fall and Beginning of Winter as they adjust curriculum for the cohort.