The One Northside Youth eXcel (ONYX) Youth Council is a group of Northside-based young people who are empowered to build community and solve problems in their neighborhoods. This summer, the ONYX Youth Council worked together to identify important issues on the Northside and administer a mini-grant program they designed to address those issues.
Excitingly, students received funding through the One Northside initiative to facilitate the grant program, and the eight ONYX Youth Council members spent weeks hard at work developing an application for their program. Through research, community meetings, and brainstorming sessions, the Council members chose to focus their mini-grants on improving community safety and providing residents access to literacy programs.
Fourteen proposals came in from a variety of organizations throughout the Northside, and the ONYX Youth Council selected four winning projects that focused on safety or literacy on Pittsburgh’s Northside. Each proposal received a grant from $500 to $1,000. The winning organizations were Allegheny Youth Development, Propel Northside, Hands to Give, and the Somali Bantu Community Association of Pittsburgh.
After giving out the grant awards, the ONYX Youth Council rounded out their summer by presenting at the Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (APOST) summer conference. The Council prepared and led a session on the concept of “childhood adultification” – a process in which youth are prematurely, and often inappropriately, exposed to adult knowledge and assume extensive adult roles and responsibilities within their family networks.
Summer 2019 was a huge success for the ONYX Youth Council! Now, the Council is looking to expand and invite more young people to participate. All Northsiders from grades 8-12 are eligible, and applications will be released in November. For more information, contact Serena Virgi at firstname.lastname@example.org.