According to Green and Haines, social capital refers to the social relationships in organizing and mobilizing community residents as well as contributing to successful outcomes (Green & Haines, 2016). Social capital can have major impacts that benefit health and well-being as well as education, and children’s welfare. Social capital usually pertains to collective action, networking, emotional and social support, and information.
Social capital is important to help enrich the lives of community members. Community based organizations that promote social capita provide community members a space for social interaction, collective action, and also encourage public participation.
In Lake Bluff, Illinois, there are many sources of social capital from an array of social clubs, sports leagues, community service opportunities, etc. However, one CBO that stands out (mostly because I was a part of it) is this organization called CROYA, or Committee Representing Our Young Adults.
The organization was started to help provide a space for young adults (middle school kids to high school young adults) to meet up after school to have a safe, welcoming, and encouraging space. CROYA’s mission is “to help young adults identify and meet their own needs, while learning values and self-worth.” It was established in order to address serious problems of suicides, drug and alcohol abuse, vandalism, and gangs that were occurring in the 1970s (CROYA Mission and History, 2011). Later on in its history CROYA wanted to help students with the stresses of homework, parent and teacher expectations, pressures of success, pressures to drink/do drugs, pressures to be sexually active, etc. CROYA is a special organization that truly listens to the many issues that young adults have today and try to help them in engaging and welcoming ways.
The organization offers weekly meetings with other youths, social activities, community service initiatives, educational programs, retreats, and much more (CROYA Mission and History, 2011). CROYA is a place for young adults to be welcomed with open arms no matter their background. It builds wonderful adult/youth relationships with the people who run the organization. The adults who work for CROYA are trustworthy, welcoming, and compassionate people who have truly changed the lives of so many young people I know.
CROYA provides a safe place for students to come to be able to hang out, get help (emotional, educational, etc.) learn new things, meet new people, get involved in community service and other clubs, etc. It is a source of social capital for young adults in both Lake Bluff and its neighboring town Lake Forest.