Linda began her work at the Youth Bureau as a part-time staff member 25 years ago. Now she works full time as the Program Coordinator for the College Discovery Program (CDP). She began the Tot Spot program at the YB when her own son was two years old because she felt there was a need for a warm, dry place for kiddos to run around and get exercise during the cold Ithaca winters. After that, Linda helped start a YB initiative at Beverly J Martin Elementary school which led to her being hired by the school district to co-lead the program for three years. Linda came back to the Youth Bureau to coordinate the College Discovery Program, which at the time was a pilot program with only 12 students. Linda has now been with the CDP for 15 years and has watched it flourish and grow, serving over 100 youth!
Linda is passionate about using her creativity and experience in the education system to help kids thrive, and she truly loves helping her community. She began her career working as a research assistant at Massachusetts General Hospital studying normal aging and dementia. Linda recalls that while the work was interesting, she felt that there was little room for creativity and growth and began looking for other opportunities. She ended up going to graduate school to get her teaching certification.
She has many memories from her tenure at the Youth Bureau. She said she loves seeing CDP students get involved in their community and give back during service projects.
“CDP provides a sense of belonging to youth and a chance to try different things, visit different places, and learn about possibilities,” Linda said.“We help students, many of whom may be first generation college students, to see themselves as potential college students by offering tutors, mentors, college visits, and more.’’
We celebrate Linda’s work anniversary and thank her for the work she’s done to make the Ithaca community a better place for youth.
We are excited to announce that Matthew Davids is our Soccer Skill Development Coach this season! Matt has been playing soccer since he was ten, when he began at the youth level in Cape Town, South Africa. He loves the sport and became interested in it because it was easy to learn and fun to play. Matt has been involved with local soccer groups both in South Africa, as well as right here in Ithaca.
Matt has been coaching and mentoring young players for the last eight years, often on a one-to-one basis. He spent the past fall with a group of 4th and 5th graders in Ithaca Youth Bureau Rotary Soccer. Matt enjoys watching each player learn and grow in order to begin developing the skills they need to enjoy playing the sport. He believes that soccer is a wonderful way to make friends.
“This game's simplicity levels the 'playing field' (pun intended), allowing people from all backgrounds worldwide to enjoy and thrive,” Matt said.
During the day, Matt works full-time as a Data Officer for Tompkins County Assigned Counsel Program. He loves living in Ithaca and has enjoyed the vibrant soccer community in the area. Please help us welcome him in his role here at IYB!
Your support of Friends of the Ithaca Youth Bureau helps to ensure that our community’s children and youth have access to safe and healthy recreational and youth development opportunities.
Gifts made in the past year were allocated to the Ithaca Youth Bureau according to preferred donor designations and the IYB program needs, including for:
Sandy LeFeber, a former IYB theater instructor, made a donation in memory of Ruth Davis, the founder of what was formally known as The Center for Expressive Arts IYB. The donation will expand opportunities for local youth to explore the expressive arts.
LeFeber and Davis worked together at the Youth Bureau’s Expressive Arts Center for more than 10 years in the 1970s and 1980s.
The donation – named the Ruth Davis Expressive Arts Program – will support reduced fees for theatre programs; provide supplies, tools and equipment for students to explore costume and prop making; purchase a sound system with microphones; and sponsor performing arts shows for children and families in the community.
“For more than 40 years, Ruth was my friend, mentor and colleague,” LaFeber said. “Her life’s work was devoted to making all aspects of the performing arts—improvisation, prop and costume building, voice training, movement, and acting—accessible and inclusive for children of all ages.
“Ruth’s approach to teaching emphasized process over performance, so that kids developed the various skills needed to build a production from the ground up,” she said. “Ruth taught her students that there was so much more to learn and experience about theater beyond playing a role on the stage. I hope that by helping to support a diverse offering of expressive arts programming at the Ithaca Youth Bureau, I can help honor Ruth’s legacy and continue her vision of providing all children the encouragement and direction needed to realize their artistic and creative potential.”
Youth Bureau Director Liz Klohmann said the IYB is excited to receive this generous donation. Klohmann remembers Ruth Davis and her passion for youth theatre and arts.
“I met Ruth when I worked at the Youth Bureau as a volunteer and student in the early 1980s,” Klohmann said. “She loved teaching children and getting them involved in the theatre experience. After she retired, she often checked in on us with a visit or to attend a Youtheatre production. We are excited to carry her vision of Youtheatre and Expressive Arts forward at the Youth Bureau.”
Additional donations to Ruth Davis Expressive Arts Programs may be made through the non-profit Friends of the Ithaca Youth Bureau at www.friendsiyb.org/donate.
Just over 230 youth participated in Outings after school, this includes Explorers, Outdoor Adventure Programs, and Pathfinders at the IYB this year. In addition, more than 1,300 people rented bikes from the Ithaca Bike Rental in 2021. The IYB is proud of its efforts to get people of all ages outside and enjoying nature!
Outings hosted seven Adventure Programs this year. Participants learned outdoor survival basics, the art of meditation, and various climbing techniques. Also, participants in the Explorers program visited the Finger Lakes National Forest for a 5-day camping trip this past summer.
The Pathfinders program brought together 150 fourth and fifth graders from the Ithaca City School District into small groups to focus on personal and emotional growth, building self-esteem, and enriching friendships. Students participated in team and leadership activities, games, discussions and walking and biking experiences.
Finally, Ithaca Bike Rental (IBR) welcomed 1325 riders this season; 859 were visitors to Ithaca, 269 were residents of Ithaca and 197 were youth and adults involved in IYB programs. IBR collaborated with eight community organizations to bring biking to young people, seniors, and all ages in between. Our partner organizations include GIAC, Lifelong, Bike Walk Tompkins, Finger Lakes Touring, Recreation Support Services, the College Discovery Program, the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program and the Paul Schreurs Memorial Program.
We were grateful to spend time outside with so many youth and community members, and we look forward to an equally successful 2022!
This year, the College Discovery Program supported Ithaca high school and middle students in Ithaca schools with weekly homework clubs, mentors and advocacy, community service opportunities, visits to college campuses, summer activities and more.
CDP works with students in grades 5 to 12 and their families. The goal is to help the youth pursue and complete higher education. CDP students are generally from groups that are underrepresented in higher education. Many participants are the first generation in their families to go to college. Students who join CDP stay in the program for seven years. To date, 88 percent of students who remained in CDP through high school have gone on to post-secondary education.
Volunteers are an integral part of the success of CDP for mentoring, tutoring, hosting college tours and more. The Friends of IYB subcommittee CDP Boosters raise a significant amount of money each year to support the program. Even through the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDP program met with participants via Zoom to help with school work and keep them connected to the program. This fall, back-to-school was a strange and difficult time for many students after a year of virtual education. CDP tutors and mentors have closely monitored students who have needed extra support. The CDP would like to thank its boosters and volunteers for all they do to help Ithaca youth!
You can donate to CDP online through Friends IYB or send a check to the Ithaca Youth Bureau with CDP in the memo line.
The Youth Bureau has been a buzz since spring! Our talented and creative staff pushed through the many obstacles still present with the pandemic and successfully provided youth services, camps, inclusion services, swimming at Cass, bike rentals, outdoor adventures, support and placement for teens in employment, traveled with youth to new places and shared new experiences all summer long. The best part about the summer was the joy, smiles and laughter we heard and saw from the children in our programs and their families. New friendships blossomed and old ones got stronger. Youth thoroughly enjoyed being with one another again.
As we head into fall and winter programming, we continue to be vigilant with mask wearing and social distancing to maintain a safe and healthy environment for our young participants. We continue our commitment to developing programming in a new creative way that invites all people in our community to learn, explore and experience; that ensures safety; that challenges us all to expand our knowledge around race, equity and inclusion, and that foster the health and wellness of everyone. We look forward to seeing you this fall and winter.
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the Friends of the Ithaca Youth Bureau (FIYB) has allocated more than $65,000 for Ithaca Youth Bureau program areas. These funds came from donations from community members, said Jeff Love, president of the FIYB board.
These funds have supported Recreation Support Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters, camp scholarships, the College Discovery Program, Outings, the Paul Scheurs Memorial Program, recreation scholarships, and youth development. FIYB also manages the gifts made for the Cass Park Arena Enclosure Campaign.
In addition, the FIYB allocated $5,000 for IYB staff to provide to families with emergency needs in spring 2020. FIYB and IYB also collaborated with the United Way when $110,000 was contributed in early summer 2020 to reopen the IYB, which had been closed in late spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are grateful for the Friends of the IYB,” said Liz Klohmann, Ithaca Youth Bureau director. “Year after year FIYB board members volunteer their time and resources to raise support for Youth Bureau programs. Their contributions ensure that valuable youth services are available for our young people. On behalf of Youth Bureau families and staff, thank you!”
FIYB is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the Ithaca Youth Bureau provide recreation and youth development programs that promote the health, happiness, and well-being of all youth and families in the greater Ithaca area. To learn more, to donate, or to volunteer, visit friendsiyb.org.
Outings, an outdoor adventure program for youth, had a very exciting summer! Our Explorers Program, for sixth to ninth graders, gathered for four weeks and then took a five-day primitive camping trip.
This was the first summer with a brand-new group of youth. We focused on getting to know each other, building a healthy well-rounded group dynamic, and forging lasting bonds through trust and adventure activities. During the weeks leading up to the trip, students canoed, hiked, biked, tree climbed and prepared for camping trip.
For many of the youth in our program, this was their very first camping experience and first time being away from home. The group camped in the Finger Lakes National Forest and took day trips to Pine Creek Gorge, Chimney Bluffs State Park, Fair Haven Beach, and Darien Lake. They practiced primitive camping skills, cooking skills and water collection and learned to seek out each other out for help and support.