This film was produced by Jason Marlow in 2014.

Kite’s Nest is a center for liberatory education in Hudson, NY. We create safe and supportive learning environments that nurture the confidence, skills, joy, and collective leadership of young people while building justice and equity in our communities. We do this by:

  • Providing innovative classes and programs that engage children and teenagers in creative expression and critical inquiry.

  • Collaborating with diverse youth, families, and organizations to build local movements for social justice, food justice, and community wellness.

  • Building opportunities for learning-in-action, in which young people are creating meaningful change in their communities.

We teach to provide much-needed spaces of hope, healing, and safety for youth to engage in relevant and joyful learning; to support young people in finding their own meaningful paths forward, and to contribute to radically positive personal, social and structural transformation. 

We opened our doors in 2013. Read more to learn about work:

Innovative classes and programs for children and teenagers

We run multidisciplinary, project-based programs and classes for children and teenagers during the day, after-school, during school breaks, and throughout the summer. Each season we gather tools, materials, and people around a particular theme: our classes have explored urban planning, wooden boat-building, potion-making, journalism, textile arts, cartography, agroecology, language immersion and more. As educators we listen closely to the sparks of interest and enthusiasm of the young people we’re working with, and support them in making choices about the inquiries they’d like to follow and the projects they’d like to pursue. At Kite’s Nest children and teenagers have the opportunity not only to be agents in their own education, but to be agents in the world: to critically engage with real-world issues and systems, to work with a broad range of adult mentors and peers, and to step up as leaders and change-makers within their community. We currently provide 3 full days a week of daytime classes, 5 days a week of after school programs, week-long school break camps, and a five-week summer leadership academy. Our classes and camps serve a wide range of youth, ages 5-21. Kite’s Nest is open to all, and we are committed to making our programs accessible to all families, regardless of income. Browse through all of our past camps & classes, or read more about the principles of our learning environment here.

Social Justice Leadership Academy

Each summer Kite’s Nest runs a five-week immersive leadership training for teenagers in Hudson, called the Social Justice Leadership Academy (SJLA). SJLA combines transformative political education and hands-on arts programming to support young people in developing their visions and voices for change. Over the course of five weeks, youth identify their own strengths and the issues that matter most to them, gain tools for political analysis, learn real leadership skills, and connect with inspiring people and organizations. SJLA supports teenagers in building lasting relationships of trust and mutual support, and in developing the social-emotional tools, communication skills, and confidence necessary for fulfilling educational and employment pathways. Read more about this program here.

River City Garden 

The River City Garden is a community garden and sustainability education site located on our 59 North Front Street in Hudson. Since its launch in 2014, the garden has become a vital community resource for a diverse community of growers and families in the neighborhood. Through youth programs and community events, we creatively engage children and teenagers in the skills and methods of growing food, in thinking critically about the impact of global food systems on our communities, and in stepping up as leaders in the development of local sustainable food systems. By working to build an intergenerational, multicultural public garden and education site, we give youth the opportunity to engage with gardeners and community members of all ages and from different cultural backgrounds, and to participate in positive and equitable neighborhood development. In 2019 we are launching the Youth Greenhouse Projectto employ youth in creating and running a greenhouse at the garden. Stay tuned!

Community-building and Systems Change

We know that in order to truly support the children and teenagers growing up in our city, we have to help shape the conditions necessary for youth to thrive. In addition to providing meaningful youth programs, Kite’s Nest is part of a strong network of organizations working to influence and transform the institutions most impacting the lives of kids and families in Hudson. Our impact goes far beyond the classroom: we work with local agencies and institutions to address racial inequality and injustice in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems; advocate for equitable and youth-centered development in our community; and organize trainings in Restorative Justice and race equity for educators, social service providers, and agency leaders. Throughout our community-building and systems change work, we see young people as vital leaders and partners in creating safe, healthy and just communities. By supporting the collective leadership of youth to address the root causes of injustice and inequity, together we can transform ourselves and the world around us.

Raising Places

In Fall 2017 Kite’s Nest, in partnership with the Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood, was selected as one of six communities around the country to participate in an innovative community design process called Raising Places, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Raising Places is a community planning process designed to engage residents and local leaders in creating healthier environments for kids and families. Our organizations convened a team of 12 community members, and a Youth Advisory Board of 8 teenagers, to explore the intersection of children and place, and to generate solutions around the question: What would make Hudson a place where all kids and families can thrive?‍ Together we explored both symptoms and root causes of local challenges facing youth and families, identifying leverage points, and generating new partnerships and ideas for moving forward. You can learn more about this initiative here.