Connecting Students with Community

In this week’s blog, we hear from Jocelynn Esteban, the Program Manager for City Youth Now, a non profit organization in San Francisco that provides programs and services for youth in the juvenile justice and foster care system. Jocelynn  participated in our most recent cohort of Community Partner Co-Educator (CPCE) Fellows. Learn about her experience as one of our Center’s partners and how students can be a part of CYN’s mission.

The mission of CYN is to provide programs and services that provide stability, personal-growth, and long-term success. As the Program Manager for City Youth Now (CYN), we try our best to remain engaged with our local community and schools to bring awareness to the work that we do. During this past year with the COVID-19 pandemic, the needs of the youth and families we serve have changed drastically. One of the largest needs youth expressed was a source of income. CYN offers a paid internship through our Youth Partnering for Education and Employment Program (YPEE), for youth to gain their first professional work experience. Because of the pandemic, we had to shift the YPEE program to a virtual platform. We were grateful to still have the support from our USF family at the Leo T. McCarthy Center to assist us with this transition. 

CYN collaborated with an entire Sociology capstone class for a semester-long project, in which they taught our YPEE interns about various social justice movements, current events, and topics that directly impact them. We worked with Nikki Raeburn for her Sociology Capstone Seminar and collaborated with 27 stuudents for their Service Learning/Community Engaged Learning portion of the class since they were unable to do any in person opportunities due to the pandemic. It was amazing to see how interactive the USF students and our youth were, despite being in an online setting. Not only were our YPEE interns able to learn about new topics, but USF students were also able to take away key knowledge and experiences from our youth. It was a transformational, rather than a transactional experience.

For the past few years, CYN has had the pleasure of working collaboratively with the students and staff from USF. We understand the importance of community involvement through fieldwork experience for students. As an undergraduate student who began working with CYN through service learning, I understand how crucial it is not only to gain firsthand experience, but how important and vital volunteerism can be for a non-profit. I can only imagine how stressful it must have been to be a student during a pandemic, struggling to find ways to connect with your community, while also meeting field work requirements.

I am also well aware of how important it is to continue to stay connected, which is why CYN has a team of young professionals, known as our Young Professionals Board. This group of individuals works together to support CYN through sharing of their skills, networking, hosting fundraisers, and volunteering their time. We ask for a one-year commitment and on average members spend about 5-6 hours per month supporting. This is a great opportunity for USF students to continue supporting CYN, even after their field experience is completed. I have seen firsthand, the skills and knowledge they can bring and believe that they can make an impact on multiple levels of the organization.

I would just like to say thank you again to the Leo T. McCarthy Center, students, faculty, and staff, who have dedicated their time to support the mission and vision of CYN.

If you are interested in applying to our Young Professionals Board, apply here: If you would like more information or have any additional questions  contact


City Youth Nowcommunity engaged learningCommunity Partner Co-Educator FellowsCommunity PartnershipsYoung Professionals BoardYouth Partnering for Education and Employment Program

Leo T. McCarthy Center • August 19, 2021

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