Waterbury, Connecticut

The community of Waterbury, CT has established policies and programs to help ensure that young people have access to the "Five Promises" that are essential to their success. Through a comprehensive community plan called Bridge to Success – Preparing Waterbury Youth for Life: A Birth to 21 Initiative, all segments of the Waterbury community are working together to build the 40 Developmental Assets youth need to become healthy, caring, responsible citizens. Stakeholders across all segments of the community are preparing Waterbury’s youth to be successful in school, work and life.   

Waterbury collaborative committees and individual organizations encourage the involvement of youth as committee members, interns, volunteers, junior leaders and junior staff. Within many of Waterbury’s youth organizations there are youth leadership development programs. The Waterbury Prevention Policy Board secured a grant from the State Department of Labor to fund a youth leadership project around the 40 Developmental Assets. In 2008-2009, the YMCA took the lead and conducted a leadership development program for approximately 20 youth who were recruited from local schools. The youth engaged in high level planning, decision-making, team work and asset building at the conference they named the "Voices of the Youth Conference."

Waterbury has a strong history of collaboration. The Waterbury Prevention Policy Board (WPPB) was established more than 10 years ago to bring the community together to increase positive youth development. WPPB membership includes every sector of the community with an elected Executive Committee serving as the Steering Committee. The School Readiness Council was created to manage

school readiness funds coming to Waterbury and later an Early Childhood Blueprint Committee was formed to plan for ramping up early care and education to essential levels for Waterbury children. With the support of the Waterbury Mayor and Superintendent of Schools, leadership from these key collaboratives developed the "Bridge to Success” plan, the only one of its kind in the State of Connecticut.

Waterbury has worked to form partnerships of school and community youth service providers to aggressively pursue after-school grants. Waterbury won its first 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant in 1998. From that ad hoc partnership, the Waterbury schools and community -based youth serving organizations built a strong enduring partnership that has allowed Waterbury to submit multiple applications in every round of federally or state funded after-school program grant competitions. Waterbury has garnered more than $ 9.6 million for partnership after-school programs in recent years.

For Waterbury families struggling to make ends meet, affordability and lack of sufficient care, make health care access challenging. Solutions to these challenges have been developed in collaboration with community partners and initiatives, most notably the "Bridge to Success" Plan. A strategic area in that plan focuses specifically on child health and development with three major indicators to track the health and development of Waterbury’s children and to ensure that they enter and continue in school healthy, nourished and ready to learn: percent of births to teen moms; percent of Waterbury children living in poverty; percent of children enrolled in HUSKY, Connecticut’s child health insurance program.