What We Do

CYD helps young people navigate the pitfalls of adolescence, teaches them to take pride in themselves and responsibility for their decisions, and prepares them to participate in our community as good citizens and civic leaders. Each year, thousands of local middle and high school students engage in CYD activities that cultivate leadership skills and support positive choices.

But CYD is not just for leaders and high achievers. It is especially important for kids who might otherwise get left behind. For every teen with social skills and family support, there is one who struggles to fit in and stay out of trouble, one who would benefit from the opportunities that CYD activities provide. For every teen who communicates with clarity and participates with enthusiasm, there is one who lacks confidence and appears to be bored and apathetic – until CYD gives her a voice and a purpose.

For every teen who takes responsibility and acts with resolve, there is one who thinks his opinion doesn’t matter and that youth can’t make a difference – until CYD draws him into civic life and shows him that he can make good things happen.

As one CYD youth stated, “I was generally a pretty quiet, shy teenager. Due to this, I didn’t tend to take on leadership positions and I simply blended into the background. After going through the STAR Leadership training, I was placed on the program committee of CYD … I was praised for my responses, listened to and I was a part of making really big decisions. This experience gave me confidence in my abilities and in myself. Since then, I have taken on leadership roles in several organizations … This organization has truly shaped my life.