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Funded Projects

East Side Community Center: Hub of Health and Empowerment

Project Website

Grant Status: Active

Training Category: Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program (HTPCP)

Project Director(s):

Valerie Cammarota
YWCA of New Britain
19 Franklin Square
New Britain, CT  06051
Phone: (860) 225-4681


Adolescent girls in New Britain -- especially those living in low-income isolated neighborhoods like the East Side -- experience immediate threats to their health that may have lifelong consequences. Challenges include obesity, depression, and teen pregnancy (New Britain has the state's highest rate of repeat teen pregnancy with no local resources to address it). Poverty, unemployment, and low education levels in the neighborhood where these teens live, work, learn and play compound their problems.

Goal(s) and Objectives:

The YWCA and its partners will improve teen and community health through our project: East Side Community Center: A Hub of Health and Empowerment for Youth and Community. Located in one of the most under resourced neighborhoods in New Britain, the Center gives teens access to onsite primary care, as well as the opportunity to interact with mentors and role models in multiple fields. Second, the Center will be a hub of empowerment and civic engagement for teens, who will use Photovoice to assess their neighborhood and advocate for positive change. Third, the Center will be a driver of community revitalization, a place where all residents can access health services, engage with their neighbors, and mobilize around issues of concern, with teens acting as change agents. Specific objectives are to establish a satellite clinic at the Center providing primary care treatment (including family planning); enroll 50 teens per year in an after school program at the Center; engage 25 teens annually in Photovoice projects; develop a community health worker training curriculum for high school students in collaboration with Southwestern AHEC.


This new project builds on successful components of two previous Healthy Tomorrows grants (2007-2018), which used a community-based participatory research framework making teens and residents full partners in designing and implementing the program. By the end of Year 1, the Community Health Center (CHC) will staff the satellite clinic with a nurse practitioner and behavioral health specialist (two four-hour sessions per week with a capacity of 350-400 visits by Year 5). Teens in the afterschool program will engage in complementary programs including fitness, nutrition, stress management, and a new curriculum to address bullying, a state priority. Photovoice projects that examine problems on the East Side will be used to catalyze resident-led actions to improve the built environment and increase social cohesion. COORDINATION Our 33-member Advisory Board includes partners in health, education, city government, academia, community-based organizations, and, most important, teens and community residents (30% of members are East Side residents). Board composition is reflective of our focus on delivering comprehensive, coordinated services to meet the health, social, and educational needs of teens. Our partnership expanded as the scope of our work widened to include social determinants of health, the built environment and policy change. The Board includes original partners, he YWCA, CHC, and New Britain High School, and newer members, the City of New Britain, Police Department, Central Connecticut State University, and many others.


The project evaluator will collect qualitative and quantitative data to measure the program's impact on individual teens (reductions in teen pregnancy, increases in graduation rates) and its population health impact (mobilizing efforts to improve physical and social conditions on the East Side).