Communiversity Youth Program

Communiversity Youth Programs (CYP), sponsored by the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, is one of the Stone Center’s cornerstone programs and is its longest-standing program. Since its inception in 1992, CYP has connected the vision of Dr. Stone and the work and resources of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center with the University campus and local and state communities through service-learning, community-building, social justice outreach, leadership, cultural literacy development and interpersonal skills development. CYP fulfills an important part of the Stone Center’s mission of examining the role of culture in social change and community development by helping to improve student performance through education and practical experience. These components educate, empower and expose participating community youth to various aspects of African and African-American culture and history, along with other cultural traditions, through alternative teaching methods. Working in cooperation with other University departments and the Chapel Hill Carrboro school system, CYP has established lasting relationships and built an important bridge between the University and these communities while also sponsoring other community outreach programs that assist in building and/or rebuilding key economic and social resources.

Over the years, CYP has grown from its foundation as a once-per-week Saturday school, expanding its capacity to serve local students more effectively and provide access to the resources of a college environment as the late Dr. Sonja Haynes Stone and CYP founders Michelle Thomas & Denise Matthewson had envisioned. CYP is now a four day-a-week program serving local elementary school students and the program was recognized as a winner of the 2016 Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award at UNC, an annual award that recognizes outstanding engagement and service to the state of North Carolina and is characterized by inspiring and helping others to serve as well as ensuring that the impact is lasting. To commemorate 25 years of service in the community, CYP will reignite its Saturday college initiative to serve local middle school students, who will take part in tutoring and study skills sessions, social justice workshops and civic engagement activities on two Saturdays per month over the course of the program year.

The CYP Elementary program serves local K-5th grade students (known in the program as scholars) from 2:45-5:45pm, who work alongside UNC student volunteers (known in the program as leaders) Monday-Thursday. Scholars are provided homework assistance, take part in guided reading activities and actively participate in culinary workshops, step and dance workshops, science exploration activities, theater and visual arts performances and other enriching activities.

The Saturday College initiative will aid the development of area middle school youth by strengthening relationships between youth, parents, school administrators and college students, creating opportunities for educational enhancement, cultural enrichment and developing a greater understanding and capacity to serve their communities, how they fit into society and how they can help solve societal problems.

For more information about Communiversity, please contact Communiversity Manager, Chris Wallace at or call 919-962-7264.

Click HERE to download a Communiversity Volunteer Application.