The Epicenter currently hosts CYC’s Monterey chapter. Meetings are the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm.
Located at 20 Maple Street Salinas CA 93901
California Youth Connection was founded in 1988 by a group of foster youth and supportive adults to provide a vehicle for California foster youth to learn leadership and advocacy skills and to engage directly with policymakers to improve the foster care system. Founded on the model of youth empowerment, CYC maintains a dual focus on policy and youth development.
CYC is the only organization in California to engage foster youth in the policy-making process. Our foster youth leaders have created a fundamental paradigm shift in child welfare policy in California, ensuring that foster youth are at the center of child welfare policymaking for the first time in history. They are full partners at the policy table, their priorities are shaping reform, and the rate of reform is rapidly increasing.
CYC Members are current and former foster youth between the ages of 14-24. The current and former foster youth members of CYC represent the spectrum of circumstances within their culture. These youth come from long-term foster care, guardianships, relative caregivers and adoptive families. Some are foster youth who have children, some represent the LGBTQ community, and some have experienced the juvenile justice system. California’s 65,000+ current and former foster youth represent the most marginalized, underserved, at-risk populations in the state. CYC offers a safe place for foster youth who may feel marginalized, labeled or stigmatized within their foster homes, schools, and communities. Members are given the chance to learn and share with their peers in a community of acceptance, engagement, committed to positive social change. At CYC, foster youth share resources and encouragement. Members are supported by CYC staff and a community of volunteers who the Members exclusively select. We are youth-driven, we develop youth decision-makers, we provide youth supports and we cultivate youth empowerment.
CYC is based on a model of youth empowerment, however, young adults from CYC whom either transitioned out or are preparing to age out of the CYC membership age requirement, which is up to 24 years of age, can choose to become a Peer Mentor. Peer Mentors are ready and willing to continue being part of CYC in a much more professional adult oriented capacity. They continue to explore new ways to receive novel skills and benefits and ways to give back to the younger members in CYC.
A Peer Mentor should be:
A bridge between the needs of the youth and full participation versus the supporters focusing on the logistics and big picture. Someone who takes on roles in the chapter, as a secretary, etc. A partner with the member to develop the skills. Someone who has acquired skills/experience but is not yet ready for their transition (creating succession in the chapter) into a supporter. Technical aid.
CYC is based on a model of youth empowerment, however, adult volunteers, or Supporters, are
critical to its success. Each chapter must have Supporters who work with the youth to learn the
important skills they need to lead the organization, help them define and work on issues, assist in
preparation for meetings and presentations, and supervise youth when they travel to statewide
conferences or speaking presentations.
CYC is seeking volunteers who care about foster youth, have an interest in assisting foster youth to develop their leadership and political skills, can embrace a “youth-led” philosophy and are interested in bringing the needs and issues of foster youth to the forefront.
If you are interested or would like more information, contact Jennifer Plancarte at Jennifer@epicentermonterey.org