Thank you to all who supported our end of year fundraising appeal, Supporting Stories that Foster Connection! We raised over $35,000 in donations from friends and partners like you!

We also received an unexpected $26,000 from anonymous donor advised funds. We are incredibly grateful for this mysterious support!

We give a special ‘thank you’ to our writers who shared what the writing program means to them and how having their stories published has had a positive impact on their lives and enabled them to support their peers through difficult challenges.

If you didn’t get a chance to watch already, please take a moment to click on the videos below. (Videos are 30-90 seconds long.)

Stories included: 

How do we build on youth SEL superpowers to better help them adjust and flourish in a new place with new people?

By shifting our mindset and reminding ourselves that our youth come with myriad strengths, we are able to take a strengths-based approach to social and emotional learning (SEL).

On Friday March 8th, for national SEL DAY 2024, this webinar will tackle this approach through the reading of a true, teen-written story, “Leaving El Salvador Forever” and using group work to highlight strategies that focus on bolstering SEL skills that are already present.

Register to Attend

Join us on Tuesday, March 12th for an open mic night hosted by the YC Ambassadors committee! Current writers, alumni, and friends will share their stories and perform original pieces. All are welcome for this special evening at YC’s transformed office. Cocktails (and mocktails) + small eats will be provided. Walk the ‘red carpet’.

The YC Ambassadors are an intergenerational leadership committee comprised of an enthusiastic group of YC alumni, current writers, and friends.

RSVP (Free or Suggested Donation)

For the second year, YC will host a spring benefit raise money for its important work elevating youth voice to create real change! We are proud to be honoring YC alumna Edwidge Danticat – a two-time National Book Award nominee, MacArthur genius award winning novelist.

Please save the date and join us for food, drinks, and a short program highlighting our youth and honoring rising stars and notable alumni. This is sure to be a special evening!

Tickets & Info

This fall, YC secured a contract authorization with New York City Public Schools (NYCPS).  This  authorization is a significant accomplishment because it allows us to contract with more NYC public schools with larger engagements, which will  enhance our impact! 

Over the next two years, Youth Communication plans to increase the number of young people who benefit from our education programs in NYC by partnering with schools, community-based organizations, and city agencies to reach thousands of additional young people. We remain committed to supporting communities that reach the most historically marginalized groups– particularly youth of color, LGBTQIA+ teens, and youth in foster care.

After a successful pilot last spring, we were invited back this fall to train every teacher and paraprofessional in the Valley Central School District. We initiated and facilitated difficult conversations that challenged some participants, and for many others, was exactly the right kind of conversation they wanted to have. The district is also implementing a pilot of our social and emotional curriculum with an eye on wider adoption!

YC provided another workshop to Fair Futures’ Youth Advisory Board titled “Telling My Story: Part 2” focused on the benefits and challenges of being asked to repeatedly tell personal stories that include trauma related to being in the foster care system to funders, social workers, staff, etc. By the end of the session, the Youth Advisory Board had come up with a list of strategies based on trauma-informed principles to help support youth who are often asked to share these stories.
YC used the information and strategies gathered by the Youth Advisory Board in October to inform a training for Fair Futures’ staff. During the training, titled “The Weight of Our Truth: Supporting Youth Who Tell Personal Stories About Trauma,” staff discussed how to support and work with youth who are often asked to tell very personal stories that include trauma they’ve experienced—whether it’s at case management, speaker engagements, or gala events. Many staff reiterated at the end of the workshop how necessary and insightful it was. The response to both trainings was overwhelmingly positive.

Professional Development Offerings


We recently completed an 18-session program—based on Represent, the voice of youth in care magazine, stories—to help foster parents meet the needs of teens in their care. ACS Commissioner Jess Dannhauser called it a “powerful approach” for supporting foster parents. We are working with ACS staff and private agency staff to make it available to all foster parents.

Responding to the needs in the field, we launched a six-part Bereavement & Belonging professional development workshop series, which includes stories from the summer writing workshop. We were pleased that 100% of participants found the sessions very or extremely helpful—and grateful to the New York Life Foundation for supporting this bereavement work. 

Topics include:

**YC was accepted to present at the National Alliance for Children’s Grief symposium in Denver this June. We will present on Workshop 5 – Public Violence and Death: How public violence (ie. mass shootings, death at the hands of police, and mass displacement) can seep into our culture and trigger a type of mourning different from traditional ideas of grief.

Learn More

The fall session of our year-round writing program continued to develop timely and relevant stories about the lives and concerns of NYC teens. 

 Stories included: 

On being published, Kai said, “It feels good. I feel like a real journalist now. I definitely was not anticipating the impact it would have on my immediate community. My family read it, and my mom was emotional about it. My dad made jokes. My sister was like, ‘This is really good.’ One of the classes in my school had an assignment to read YC stories and apply for the writing contest. So, some of my classmates read the story and came up to me and had no idea that I was trans [before reading the story]. Reading the story helped remove [their] internalized transphobia.”

“The Best Form of Validation” was reprinted in Chalkbeat, a national, education-based news organization.

By the time Chantel Jackson was 14, both her parents were incarcerated.

“Having to accept that you’re just gonna live with strangers for the rest of your life until you’re 21,” said Jackson, 24. “That’s not something really easy to accept at 14 years old.”

Although this separation from her parents was traumatic, Jackson said it also pushed her to be her own best advocate after having to navigate the foster care system by herself.

When Jackson was 18, she entered a writing competition from an organization called Youth Communication, which publishes personal stories written by children in foster care through its own magazine.

She won a prize through their annual Awards for Youth in Foster Care writing contest and received $1,100, which she put toward paying for her college dorm. 

Read more! Gothamist article: “These 5 New Yorkers radically transformed their lives. Here’s how they did it.”