The Coalition Supporting Young Adults (CSYA) is a collective action initiative of community organizations and individuals who come together to address the needs of youth and young adults in Jefferson County, Kentucky who are disconnected; out of school and work, due to structural racism, poverty, homelessness, educational disruption, childhood trauma, and related challenges.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, approximately 17,100 (12.5%) of all 16- to 24-year-olds in Louisville Metro were considered neither in school nor working because of challenges they face. Additionally, more than 9,800 18- to 24-year-olds in Louisville lack a high school diploma and Black youth in Louisville are more likely to be disconnected than white peers by 17.6 percentage points. These disruptions in education and employment overshadow the opportunities young people have to learn, to become financially independent, and to fully participate in our community.
We understand no single organization, public agency, or philanthropist can address these complex and interrelated needs. Solutions are possible only through coordinated, collaborative efforts. Together, we are committed to researching the root causes of disconnection and homelessness, raising public awareness of these issues, training and supporting adults to advocate for young people, coordinating services to young people, setting goals and measuring outcomes, and creating effective systems serving young people.
In February 2011, Chef Nancy Russman’s concern that there were few services for struggling young adults in our community was the catalyst for a convening of a wide variety of service providers to determine whether there was sufficient interest in looking deeper into, and responding to, the situation. That initial convocation launched an effort that is still growing today.
Building on that initial interest and support, a second Community Meeting was held a few months later, and determined that the mission of the effort would be “To bring the community together to focus on Young Adults 16-24 who are in crisis without support.” And so the Coalition Supporting Young Adults was launched. Essential to the development of the coalition are CSYA’s fiscal sponsors over the last 10 years, the Coalition for the Homeless, YMCA Safe Place, and Youth Build Louisville.