School-Based & Commitment to Youth Development

24 Hour Crisis Line


  • New Beginning School
  • Learn2Earn: Workforce Development
  • Rochester Teen Court
  • School Based Services
  • Strings For Success
  • EarthWorks

New Beginning School

New Beginning is a small, alternative school for young men, ages 16-21, who have faced challenges in a traditional school setting or who have had an encounter with the criminal justice system. The Rochester City School District’s (RCSD) Youth and Justice Program partners with The Center for Youth to offer the New Beginning School.

Why New Beginning?

RCSD educators teach all the academic courses that students would receive in a traditional school setting. The Center for Youth offers individualized support services such as:

  • counseling
  • life-skills training
  • mentoring
  • workforce readiness opportunities
  • leadership workshops
  • referrals
  • aftercare

New Beginning engages and empowers male students in the Rochester City School District in a smaller setting with the goal of getting them to graduation. The school is designed to help the young men become active members of our community by sustaining or improving academic success, reducing recidivism and enhancing employability.

If Our Streets Could Talk

The If Our Streets Could Talk film project, sponsored by AT&T, features young men in New Beginning. These students had the opportunity to learn about film and photography while sharing their voices. This is their story.

Learn2Earn: Workforce Development

Staff provide support to help youth engage in high school equivalency programs and testing (formerly known as GED), paid internships, advanced training programs, college enrollment and employment.

Any youth, ages 17-24, who reside in Monroe County and have dropped out of high school or already graduated from high school are eligible for out-of-school services. 
Through individual appointments with a Workforce Navigator and monthly job-readiness workshops youth learn:

  • how to develop a portfolio
  • interviewing and job-retention skills
  • how to obtain a paid internship
  • how to obtain employment
  • how to engage in post-secondary education and create long-term career goals

EMPLOYERS: Interested in employment referral opportunities? Contact us, today!

Rochester Teen Court

Rochester Teen Court is a diversion program delivered by The Center for Youth for nonviolent offenders, ages 16-18. Defendants participate voluntarily in this sentencing court after accepting responsibility for their actions in a traditional courtroom. Local judges preside over the proceedings, and teen jurors recommend sentencing. Youth volunteers also serve as attorneys and court personnel.

Youth courts use positive peer pressure to ensure that young people who have committed minor offenses pay back the community and receive the help they need to avoid further involvement in the justice system. Youth courts hear a range of low-level crimes; many handle cases that would otherwise wind up in Family Court or Criminal Court. The Center also assists local jurisdictions in their efforts to establish youth courts.

Restorative Justice

Participation in youth courts is voluntary and requires young people to take responsibility for their actions. Through the hearing or restorative circle, the respondent has the opportunity to tell their story and answer questions posed by the jury. With a focus on restorative justice, sanctions typically include community service, letters of apology, and skill-building workshops. Successful completion of sanctions typically results in a favorable disposition of the case by the referring agency.

Youth Leadership

Youth volunteers cultivate their leadership skills and are exposed to a range of education and career opportunities. Young people with previous justice-involvement are strongly encouraged to apply. All youth court members receive 30-40 hours training before serving.

Teen Court’s main objective is to ensure a teen’s first encounter with the criminal justice system is his or her last. The program is designed to:

  • provide education to youth on the judicial system and engage them in the process
  • promote accountability for actions
  • reinforce responsibility to society through community service and educational sentencing

School Based Services

The Center delivers an array of school-based services to thousands of young people each year, including the Alternative-to-Suspension program, Crisis Intervention, After-School Program at Urban Choice Charter School and Prevention Education Services intervention/ prevention/ help zone, as well as school-based counseling services, and child and family therapy.

Strings for Success

A violin instruction program in partnership with The Center for Youth and Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School 19

Who We Are

Strings for Success (SFS) is a free, inclusive, and innovative instrumental strings program available to all students in grades 2-8 at the Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School 19 in the Rochester City School District. In addition to high-quality music instruction, SFS students participate in ensembles, performances, field trips, and learning opportunities with visiting artists from Rochester and beyond. Strings for Success is offered during the school day so that all interested students can participate.

SFS began in 2008 with the vision that all children should have the opportunity to benefit from the life-changing power of learning a musical instrument. Through a partnership between the Center for Youth and School 19, Strings for Success started with 16 students, 2 volunteer violin teachers, and donated instruments. Over a decade later, the program has grown rapidly and now serves over 100 School 19 students annually.

Strings for Success aims to nurture whole child development through its many learning components. The program fosters social-emotional, cognitive, and fine-motor development; builds executive functioning, problem-solving, and teamwork skills; and supports academic success and college/career awareness.

Strings for Success students have performed with professional, college, and community orchestras, at festivals and in various museums and concert halls. Our past field trips have included travel to Albany, Washington DC, New York City, and Boston, where SFS students have performed at historical sites such as the Capital (for a Congressional Briefing on the Arts), the 911 Memorial, and the JFK Presidential Museum and Library.

What We Do

  • Violin lessons for all interested students in the second-eighth grades at School 19
  • Lessons in viola, cello and double bass starting in the sixth grade
  • Private and small group lessons
  • Multiple ensemble opportunities depending on age and skill level
  • Formal school concerts
  • Extended learning experiences beyond the classroom
  • Community performances and field trips within and outside of the Rochester community to support academics and college and career awareness
  • Master classes with professional musicians
  • Audition preparation for the Rochester City School Districts’ School of the Arts
  • Volunteer opportunities for parents

What we see

  • Strings for Success helps students develop confidence and pride in their talents, creativity, and accomplishments.
  • Strings for Success supports academics, improves school attendance, and develops solid work habits, perseverance, and self-discipline.
  • Strings for Success fosters cooperation, respect, and working as part of a team.
  • Strings for Success nurtures a love of learning and positive goals for the future.

See us In action

Summer Prelude

In case you missed the Summer Prelude, the annual benefit concert for Strings for Success, here it is! Strings for Success is a partnership between The Center for Youth and School 19.


EarthWorks recognizes the bond we share with nature, and we understand the everlasting relationship that exists between children and nature. Our mission is to provide children with support and space to experience this relationship through unstructured forest play, curiosity-driven exploration, and wilderness skill practice. We aim to create a physically safe and emotionally supportive environment, where students develop resilience, self-confidence, and an appreciation for the natural world.

Building relationships with nature

EarthWorks is a youth development program offered by The Center for Youth that focuses on 21st Century Skills, experiential learning, STEAM and environmental enrichment, and personal wellness. By partnering with the community leaders and educators we develop programs that build healthy, lasting, bonds between land and community.

Challenges such as unemployment, poverty, lack of transportation, and unfamiliarity with our local bio-region prevent our communities from developing and connecting with the world at large in more fulfilling ways. By helping families gain access to these relationships, EarthWorks and our Guides seek to improve the quality of life in our city and the Greater Rochester Region. We do this by focusing on family development, wellness, and experiential education, providing programs that empower people, but especially youth with invaluable life-skills, building healthy, lasting bonds across our communities and green spaces.

Group Programming

We inspire healing and personal growth through nature immersion and mentoring programs.

  • Individuals can supplement treatment with wilderness healing
  • Community leaders can provide unique recreation programs
  • Groups can register for nature workshops

Extended Enrichment

Partnering with educators, our guides can help develop hands-on curriculum for STEM and environmental education, experiential learning, and 21st Century Skills like team building, critical thinking, creativity, and more. Programs are crafted to suit administrative goals, and sustain a positive community impact.

Outdoor Experiences

Environmental science, forestry, and education are at the heart of what we do. EarthWorks offers the skills and experience to facilitates safe, nature-based programs among diverse groups while helping them to develop skills and experiences that connect youth with their world and each other.

EarthWorks staff are comprised of highly trained, diversely practiced, individuals with over 20 years of combined experience developing environmental and educational programs. They guide students through coyote mentoring, to educate, inspire, and empower youth by allowing them to develop connections with themselves and their world through meaningful experiences.

After-School Programs: The Center for Youth staff, volunteers and interns deliver after-school programs to provide academic enrichment and recreational opportunities. We promote school and community engagement with the goals of increasing attendance, increasing academic success, decreasing suspensions and fostering well-rounded youth.

Alternative-to-Suspension (ATS): The Center for Youth delivers the ATS program in Rochester City Schools as well as suburban and charter schools.

is designed to:

  • reduce short-term,
    out-of-school suspensions;
  • minimize disruptive behavior;
  • avoid future suspensions;
  • and keep youth on track with
    their academics.

Instead of sending students home, schools keep students in a classroom with a Social Learning Specialist from The Center for Youth and a teacher or teacher’s aide. The Center for Youth provides socio-emotional support, teaching life-skills and positive coping mechanisms, while the teacher ensures the students complete their regular classroom assignments.

Extended Learning Time: We offer support services for schools in the Rochester City School District that have extended learning time. Our prevention educators develop and deliver prevention education curricula and workshops, and our child family therapists establish relationships with parents, guardians and caregivers to foster the success of their children.

Learn 2 Earn: The Center for Youth offers Learn2Earn to assist youth in establishing and successfully attaining educational and employment goals.
New Beginning: The Center for Youth, in partnership with the Youth and Justice Program of the RCSD, has developed an academic alternative program, featuring a personalized learning environment –The New Beginning Program is a ground-breaking approach that addresses the academic and social-emotional issues of young men, ages 16-21 that have experienced personal challenges.  This school offers a structured, consistent, predictable and supportive environment that promotes positive relationships that are imperative to the young men’s sense of security, safety and self. 
Prevention Education Services (PES): Our team of prevention education specialists offers research-based, interactive workshops geared toward schools and other youth organizations in Monroe County. Evidence-based prevention programs such as Botvin’s Life Skills help children and teens make healthy decisions.
Examples topics include:
  • Communication
  • Alcohol and drug awareness
  • Prejudice
  • Depression and suicide
  • Sexuality
  • Conflict resolution

School-Based Counseling: Our school-based counselors provide crisis-intervention counseling to students, families or groups as well as referral services.



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24 Hour Crisis Line


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  • 905 Monroe Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620
  • Open Mon-Fri: 8AM–9PM
  • 585-473-2464
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