Founded by Laurie Meadoff in 1985 with the vision of creating a safe space where diverse young people can listen, share, grow as leaders and then move on the world, The CityKids Foundation (CityKids) has empowered, engaged, connected, and inspired young people to skillfully lift their voices and be heard for the past three decades.
Pioneering a unique arts in education model that supports the artistic and intellectual development of our participants, our programming is rooted in core principles focusing on leadership development and social emotional learning, empowering youth to connect to positive, life affirming ideals and leadership skills.
Since our first collaboration in 1986 partnering more than 1,000 CityKids with Pop Art icon Keith Haring (who later designed our logo) to create an 30X90 foot banner calling for ‘Freedom for All’ for the bicentennial celebration of The Statue of Liberty. CityKids has spent the last three decades committed to making sure the voices of young people are heard in the most positive and powerful ways possible; annually reaching more than 100,000 young people worldwide through our youth-driven messages; communicated through performances, workshops, and the media.
CityKids’ Mission is for young people to find and strengthen their individual, and collective voices, and to support them to raise those voices to impact their lives, their communities, and the world.
CityKids’ vision and programs are anchored in a set of consistent, powerful, actionable, teachable and livable principles:
Safe Space: Environments in which young people feel physically, mentally, and spiritually safe—free to be, express, respect, grow, teach, and learn with each other. A safe environment to discuss topics they care about and process the world around them.
Youth-to-Youth Communication: With adults as key resources, young people actively learn from, and teach their peers, studying a diverse range of national, and global issues to find their roles and platforms for action.
Multicultural Bridge Building: Young people from different backgrounds gathering together and engaging in honest dialogue, where boundaries can be dismantled and the doors to understanding opened.
Leadership Development: Empowering young people to develop their innate leadership potential through curriculum, and experiences that positively impact society, today and in the future.
CityKids innovators have been in the forefront in the fields of positive youth development and social-emotional learning. We empower young people ages 13 to 22 through cutting edge arts and educational programs that develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to succeed in school, the workplace, and in life.