Chinese Youth Initiative

2017 Summer Interns celebrating the end of their summer internship

The 2018 CYI Summer Internship application is live! Click here to APPLY NOW

The mission of the Chinese Youth Initiative is to develop youth leadership in the Chinese American community.  We strive to accomplish this goal by cultivating awareness about the issues facing Chinese Americans and providing youth with experience in grassroots community organizing.

What is Chinese Youth Initiative (CYI)?

Since 1994, CYI has brought together Chinese American youth from all over the Boston area. Sponsored by the Chinese Progressive Association, the program’s mission is to develop and involve youth leadership in the Chinese American community. We strive to accomplish this goal through cultivating awareness around Chinese American issues and providing youth with experience in grassroots community organizing.

CYI was started with the notion that, if given guidance, opportunity, and experience in making a difference, many youth would want to better understand our society and create positive change in their communities. We empower youth through education, leadership skills development, and taking action!

Summer Internship

CYI hosts a seven week paid summer internship that provides high school students with the opportunity to learn about and make a difference in the Chinese American community in Boston.  The internship covers issues such as worker rights, community stabilization, immigrant rights, and political empowerment.    With each topic, interns learn about the history, exlore their personal connection, and take action to improve the conditions for the community.  Youth in our program have left with life long friendships and empowered to make change.   An application and interview process is required and typically takes place in April and May every year. Applications are now available for our 2018 Summer Internship program! Apply by April 6th, 2018 at Have questions? Email Erin Chow (erin[at] to find out more!

Year-Round Program

Chinese Youth Initiative’s year-round program is open to ALL youth who want to get involved with the Chinatown community. Throughout the year, CYI provides opportunities for youth to develop their leadership and deepen their awareness and involvement in Boston’s Chinatown by taking on different issues and projects that address community issues. Youth can become involved in many different ways! Interested? Contact the youth coordinator for more information.

Currently, CYI is working on an oral history project documenting Boston Chinatown’s fight for the bilingual ballot in the early 2000s. CYI is also planning to host pre-voter registration drives to encourage young people to get ready and stay politically active in their communities. Stay tuned for more updates!

Examples of Past CYI Projects :

  • Project AAIYA! Asian American Initiative for Youth Action: High school-aged youth had the opportunity become active leaders in Chinatown through this 10-week volunteer program that provided social justice knowledge, skills, and real opportunities to make positive change. Project AAIYA was a weekly program and youth who participated received volunteer hours. 
  • Chinatown Library Campaign: Chinatown has been without a library since 1950s when it was torn down to build the highway through the neighborhood.  From 2000-2016, CYI worked to bring a library back to Chinatown through advocacy, education, and support of community initiatives such as opening a temporary storefront library and reading room. After over a decade of hard work and collaboration, the City of Boston and Boston Public Library has opened a temporary library in Chinatown in February 2018. This is such an accomplishment for the community! Check out the video made by previous CYI alum about why the Chinatown community needed a library below.

  • Chinatown Bike-A-Thon: In CYI’s annual fundraiser, we promote healthy activity, investment in youth, and solidarity as we ride through the bike paths of Boston.  We welcome any sponsors and interested riders!  As summer approaches, look for more information on the Bike-A-Thon!
  • Public Transit for the Public Good: CYI was involved in the Youth Affordability Coalition fighting against fare increases and service cuts to the public transit that our youth and members depend on.

Join the “Chinese Youth Initiative” Facebook group for more updates or e-mail our youth coordinator Erin at erin at (“@” has been replaced by “at” in the e-mail address to avoid spam).


February 23, 2018

Apply for 2018 CYI Summer Internship!

Are you a high school-aged youth who wants to build your leadership and get involved in the Boston Chinatown community? Apply for the Chinese Youth Initiative (CYI) paid summer internship! Spend 7 weeks finding your inner leader and connecting with communities and youth across Boston while getting to know Chinatown and learning about community organizing.

November 1, 2017

Exercise Your Voting Rights!

Recently we have learned from many elderly Chinese-speaking voters that people came to their doors to help them apply for and fill in absentee ballots. These people collected incomplete ballots in unsealed return envelopes and asked elderly voters to sign the unsealed envelopes. Because the ballots were not sealed, it is possible that candidates may have been marked without the voters' knowledge or consent. Some voters were even pressured into applying for absentee ballots when they would otherwise vote at the polls on Election Day.

August 9, 2017

Summer Newsletter 通訊

Recap of our 40th Gala, our Annual Bikeathon Fundraiser, New Staff Announcements, Upcoming Events, and Other Thinkpieces