Santa Cruz, CA (April 21, 2021) – A new three-year, $650,000 grant will link University of California, Santa Cruz and United Way of Santa Cruz County’s Youth Action Network – Jovenes SANOS to support youth empowerment and leadership throughout Santa Cruz County. Faculty and undergraduate students will partner with local high school and middle school students in Watsonville and Santa Cruz/Live Oak to design and implement community-engaged research.
This work will provide new insight on youth education, health, and wellbeing initiatives and community services for immigrant and mixed-status families, unhoused families, and migrant working families. Jovenes SANOS youth and UC Santa Cruz undergraduates who gain research experience through the program will have a new leadership platform to influence local policy. Also, the program is designed to support college readiness and success, particularly for Latinx students and other students of color who are or will be the first in their families to attend college.
The funding for this project comes from the highly competitive, nationwide Institutional Challenge Grant, supported by the William T. Grant Foundation, Spencer Foundation, and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. These grants helps universities and community organizations work together to reduce inequities in youth outcomes. UC Santa Cruz, Johns Hopkins University, and Northeastern University were this year's winners, while Cornell University received a continuation of funding.
"Make no mistake, there were much larger institutions and larger agencies as finalists for this award", said Keisha Browder, chief executive officer of United Way of Santa Cruz County. "For UC Santa Cruz and our United Way to win this award affirms our ability to deepen and scale our work to improve youth outcomes".