Document Type

Capstone Project

Publication Date

Summer 8-27-2021


Youth Development, Community Development, Political Science, Economic Development, Stevenson Center


The East Bluff Community Center (EBCC)’s mission is to “foster community engagement and neighborhood stabilization by providing a vibrant place to gather.” This paper seeks to shed light on the role that community centers play in creating socioeconomic opportunities for at-risk youth in low-income, American communities. The author completed an 11-month internship through Illinois State University’s Stevenson Center in which I was placed as a Community Engagement Coordinator at the EBCC. While at EBCC, I conducted a neighborhood needs assessment, strengthened existing and built new interorganizational partnerships, and launched a building revitalization within the context of the Integrated Prevention and Early Intervention (IPEI) Model. Using youth development, community development, and economic development as lenses through which I examine at-risk youth, substantial findings indicate that community centers may be a legitimate facilitator of socioeconomic opportunity for at-risk youth.