Community Development Block Grant
Success Stories

Cranston, RI - Mayor John O'Leary

Community Youth Center

The Cranston Community Youth Center was established to "fill in the gap" for young people and adolescents. It is centrally located, adjacent to the YMCA and in close proximity to several schools. A series of forums for students in the City's five secondary schools identified the variety of activities and services the young people felt were needed at the new Center:

  • •Recreational, educational and social programs, including access to computers and the Internet, homework assistance, counseling/peer mediation and entertainment, are available to young people.
  • •Through collaboration with the YMCA, which is adjacent to the new Center, current YMCA programs such as Teen Night, held on Saturday evenings during the school year, are being enhanced. City youth who had not been using the YMCA are now able to access facilities such as the swimming pool and exercise room which are not available at the Youth Center.
  • •As a community facility, the Center has the potential to meet the City's broader community service needs. Working in collaboration with Cranston Public Schools, private schools, community organizations and religious groups, the Center has the capability to identify community service projects and coordinate and organize students to perform the service, thus benefitting both the community and the students through volunteer efforts.

In addition, the Center provides six Head Start classrooms and two offices, as well as a nurse's station which is utilized by Head Start. It also includes a community police substation which provides added security to the facility and assists community police officers in establishing rapport and interacting with the young people.

The Community Youth Center Board of Directors is responsible for oversight and financial direction of the Center. Its membership includes the Mayor, a representative of the City Council, the public works and recreation directors, the Chief of Police, a representative of the School Department, representatives of the YMCA, the Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP) and the CDBG program, and a student liaison from the Cranston Youth Advisory Commission. CCAP is responsible for operation and maintenance of the Head Start facilities. The YMCA is responsible for day-to-day operation of the Center - developing, coordinating and scheduling programs, and providing supervision and staffing for the facility. The City of Cranston is responsible for maintenance of the building and grounds.

The Cranston Community Youth Center was built and equipped with $900,000 in CDBG funds ($600,000 in 1998-1999 and $300,000 in 1999-2000), $635,000 from Head Start/CCAP, and $165,000 in private corporate contributions.

Contact: Tom Caruolo, Director, Community Development, (401) 461-1000

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