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Youth Leadership Programs

Great Falls Youth Corps

The Great Falls Youth Corps (GFYC) summer program provides high school students with a unique opportunity to learn more about the area's rich ecological, social, and industrial history.

Operated by NJCDC in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), the eight-week program allows students to study the Great Falls National Historical Park and its ecology, organize community park clean-ups and beautification projects, offer guided tours, and learn more about careers within the National Park Service. Members have also taken trips to other national parks in places like Massachusetts and California.

Since 2011, GFYC members have helped inspire a sense of civic pride in Paterson related to the new National Park and have also served as stewards of the park. They not only strive to improve the park but also to encourage visitors to see it.

For more information: Please contact our Program Manager at 973.413.1622 or send us a message.

Paterson Youth Council

Organized by NJCDC, the Paterson Youth Council (PYC) is the premier voice for the city's young people between the ages of 14 and 18. It is a year-long leadership development program that introduces members to topics ranging from education to public safety to the arts.

Made up of 30 dynamic young residents, the Paterson Youth Council meets regularly to discuss a variety of issues that concern and affect their age group. Members meet with city leaders, such as the Mayor, the Paterson Public Schools Superintendent, and members of the City Council and Board of Education. In doing so, the Paterson Youth Council provides a platform from which Paterson's best and brightest teens can help influence decisions that affect them.

Members also perform a variety of community service projects and take trips to places like Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Each year, the Paterson Youth Council sponsors the Dr. Martin Luther King Youth Recognition Awards and honors other youth who are doing incredible work in their schools and the community at large.

The program also has a robust college readiness element, hosting workshops throughout the year in topics such as the college application process, financial aid, and more. Members also go on trips to tour college campuses, including local colleges and an annual Ivy League Tour in the New England area.

In order to combat high rates of poverty and low levels of financial literacy in the city, the Paterson Youth Council recently launched a financial literacy initiative. Members participate in a curriculum that teaches them about budgeting, debt management, identity theft, and more, and then teach those topics to other Paterson youth.

Through this service learning and community involvement, participants cultivate confidence, independence, maturity, leadership skills, and a voice of their own.

For more information: Please contact our Paterson Youth Council Advisor at 973.413.1622 or send us a message.

Follow the Paterson Youth Council on Instagram!

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