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NIFA Awards CYFAR Sustainable Community Project Grants to Help At-Risk Communities

Media Contact: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2010 – USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded today eight grants through the Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Sustainable Communities Project (SCP) to strengthen outreach program aimed at giving at-risk children, youth and families the skills and knowledge they need to lead healthy and successful lives.

"Many American children are at risk for problems, such as infant mortality, poor health, abuse, crime, teen pregnancy and poor performance in school," said Roger Beachy, NIFA director. "CYFAR promotes positive youth and family development by supporting healthy environments and providing opportunities for learning and leadership by youth and adults in their communities."

For example, in Connecticut an urban gardening project will teach teens from low-income families the leadership and entrepreneurial skills that will help them as they grow into adults.

This year NIFA awarded $4,620,000 to eight land-grant universities. Since 1991, CYFAR has supported programs in more than 600 communities in all states and territories. The purpose of SCP funding is to improve the quality and quantity of comprehensive community-based programs for at-risk children, youth, and families supported by the Cooperative Extension System. Collaboration across disciplines, program areas and geographic lines, as well as a holistic approach that views the individual in the context of the family and community, are central to Sustainable Community Projects.

The CYFAR SCP has two strategic objectives:

  1. To support community educational programs for at-risk children, youth, and families that are based on locally identified needs, soundly grounded in research and lead to the accomplishment of one of four CYFAR national outcomes focused on early childhood, school-age kids, teens, and parents and families.
  2. To integrate CYFAR programming into ongoing extension programs for children, youth and families – ensuring that at-risk, low income children, youth and families continue to be part of extension/4-H programs and have access to resources and educational opportunities.

Each grant recipient receives $660,000 over the course of five years. The Fiscal Year 2010 CYFAR SCP grantees include:

  • Alabama A&M University, Normal, Ala., The Teens Making Impact initiative assists at-risk teens in metro regions with developing coping and survival skills, fostering career development and enhancing leadership and community service activities.
  • University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz., The Strengthening Families Program focuses on reducing problem behaviors, improving social competencies, and strengthening parent-child bonds through more effective parenting skills.
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn., The 4-H Teen Urban Gardening Project will teach teens life skills, develop trust and a sense of belonging through supportive relationships with staff, adult community members and each other as they become competent young adults.
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., The GRandS: Grandfamily Resilence and Sustainability project is designed to strengthen relationships in at-risk children being raised by grandparents through parent education, family interaction, and community connections.
  • University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, The Idaho 4-H Afterschool Outreach to At-Risk Communities will bring afterschool programs to two rural communities and one farm-labor housing complex focusing on science and technology, healthy living and cultural and visual arts.
  • Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., Linking Food and the Environment: An Inquiry-Based Science and Nutrition Program merges science and nutrition education content with social cognitive learning and self-determination process skills to reduce consumption of unhealthy foods and sedentary habits in diverse racial, ethnic, gender and socio-economic strata youth.
  • University of Nevada, Reno, Nev., Literacy First will encourage the involvement and support of Spanish-speaking parents in their children's lives and learning.
  • Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., Strong Kids, Stronger Communities establishes a variety of educational opportunities for Latino youth grades kindergarten through 8th grade in urban, at risk communities in community club-based programs.


Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. For more information, visit


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