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Fresh Youth Initiatives

Award Recipients - 1999

Rodney Fuller, Andrew Rubinson, Co-Directors

In 1993, Andrew Rubinson initiated Fresh Youth Initiatives (FYI) in his apartment in Washington Heights.  Within two years, he moved FYI into its own space, and shortly after, Rodney Fuller joined as co-director.  The co-directors explain that the core of the program is “Community Youth in Action,” dedicated to providing young people opportunities to create, design and implement their vision of community service.  
More than 200 neighborhood children, ages 10 to 17, participate in FYI.  They become strong change agents, playing a meaningful role in the community.  They create programs such as the Helping Hands Food Bank, a project to help families in need of food assistance, and the Sleeping Bag Project – where they sew sleeping bags from scratch, fill them with clothes and toiletries and then distribute them to the homeless.  FYI’s work is seen throughout the neighborhood in the form of murals, a garden and countless neighbors who have been helped by or who have volunteered with FYI.  The results are also evident in the youth who crowd the office every day after school.

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