Gary Winfield


Gary Winfield



January 31, 2018

New Haven Legislators Welcome $339k in State Grants for Local Youth Programs

NEW HAVEN—Senator Gary Winfield (D-New Haven), and New Haven Democratic State Representatives Toni Walker, Robyn Porter, and Juan Candelaria welcomed $339,875 in state funding for youth programs in Greater New Haven. The State of Connecticut Judicial Branch awards YSP grants to nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies for youth programs. Organizations are nominated by members of the General Assembly’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus (BPRC), of which Sen. Winfield, Reps. Walker, Porter, and Candelaria are members.

“Securing this funding was crucial for us because we understand how important it is for children to feel supported and empowered, especially in communities like New Haven where our youth face so much adversity,” Sen. Winfield said. “We need these programs to continue in order to build a better future for our community with our children at the forefront.”

“These nonprofit organizations provide children with additional programs that will enhance their educational and social skills, ultimately improving their quality of life,” said Rep. Walker, the House Chair of the Appropriations Committee. “The organizations that receive this funding are just a few of many that do amazing work throughout New Haven and the legislature must continue to fund organizations like them.”

“These organizations are the backbone of our city,” said Rep. Porter. “When students and residents need a helping hand, initiatives like Believe in Me Corp., Higher Heights Youth Empowerment Program, New Haven Reads Community Book Bank, Kidz Kook Association Inc., r’Kids Inc., and VETTS Inc., are there to give our children the tools they need to achieve educational success and help families improve their lives. Securing this funding allows these programs to continue being the building blocks of our community.”

“Bregamos Community Theater and Arte, Inc. contribute greatly to the quality of life in New Haven,” said Rep. Candelaria. “Their programs provide opportunities that cannot be understated, offering the city’s young people the chance to participate in a wide variety of activities that keep them engaged and motivated.”

FY18 YSP recipients in Greater New Haven:

Arte Inc.
BIMEC Believe in Me Corp
Bregamos Theater
Higher Heights Youth Empowerment Program
Kidz Kook Association, Inc.
New Haven Reads Community Book Bank
New Haven Symphony Orchestra
PAL New Haven
r’ Kids, Inc.
Solar Youth
Sullivan Basketball Academy

“New Haven Reads is enormously grateful for the support of Senator Gary Winfield and the New Haven delegation,” said Kirsten Levinsohn, Executive Director of New Haven Reads. “This grant award is critical in enabling us to continue to support students in our community to become skilled and confident readers. The ability to read can change the life of a child and this grant will help our students achieve their goals.”

“With each child, the world begins anew,” said Randi S. Rubin Rodriguez, Executive Director of r’ Kids, Inc. “‘r’Kids is very grateful to have legislators who understand the challenges our vulnerable children and families face and dedicate their energies in so many ways to making our community a healthy community for today as well as our future. Prevention saves dollars!”

“These funds will be used to support the College Advising Program that embeds well-trained, dedicated, near-peer college advisers in high schools that serve significant numbers of low-income and first generation college-going students,” said Chaka Felder-McEntire, Founder of Higher Heights Youth Empowerment Program. “The goal of the program is to increase the number of high school students who enter and complete postsecondary education.”

“We are taking baby steps right now, but our plan is to expand this into something special,” said Tyrese Sullivan, Director of Sullivan Basketball Academy Mentoring Program. “We’ve received tremendous feedback from the community, but the biggest issue has been resources. Fundraising is so difficult, and I hate to ask the parents to reach into their pockets because they are already so stretched.”