Chinatown Beautification Day and Youth Conference

The 10th Annual Chinatown Beautification Day (CBD) and our youth conference is a weekend for high school students to explore leadership and community. Through a full day of workshops around leadership, community involvement, environmental awareness and more, high school students are encouraged to get involved with their own communities and given the tools necessary to create change. The conference is followed by a clean-up of Chinatown, where over 200 volunteers come out to physically clean up the streets as well as show the community how much they care.


Chinatown Beautification Day began as a project created by CYI’s 2003 Summer Leadership Institute. The original mission was to address concerns that Manhattan’s Lower East Side had become neglected in the aftermath of 9/11. Since 2003, CYI has held CBD annually, consistently gathering between 150 and 350 high school youth to clean the streets of Chinatown. In 2009, CBD was expanded to include the citywide High School Youth Conference, which preceded CBD in the same weekend. At the conference, youth attend workshops on a variety of issues, including mental health, women’s empowerment, hip hop as a tool for social justice, environmental justice, and cultural identity.

Our goals for the 2012 Chinatown Beautification Weekend include:

  • To raise awareness on topics in environmentalism, sustainability, hate crimes, Asian-American politics, voter registration, and more.
  • To empower youth to explore the Lower East Side/Chinatown community and contribute to it.
  • To inspire all participants and people to learn skills to take action and be a leader in their community

The Team

Matt Lim, Conference Workshops Coordinator
Matt is a rising sophomore at New York University, majoring in Social and Cultural Analysis with a minor in teacher education. This year will be his first year coordinating, but fifth year participating in CBD. He likes to dance and take pictures of his food (but not simultaneously). Matt is looking forward to a great summer with the CBD team and plans on making the youth conference this year even bigger and better, hoping to inspire more youth to become agents of change within their own communities.

Lily Kong, Events Coordinator
Lily is a rising sophomore at Wesleyan University. She was a participant in SLI '10, and this will be her first year as part of the CBD team. She is looking forward to having an amazing summer with CBD meeting new people, helping the community and inspiring youth.

Diana Wang, Organizational Coordinator
Diana is a rising senior at Tufts University, double majoring in Clinical Psychology and Child Development. She loves CYI and has been involved in all of its programming, participating in CLP (08-10) , SLI (09), CBD (09) and being Outreach Director her last year of CLP. She's so excited to be back with CYI after two summers of being away!

Michael Yee, Treasurer
Michael is a graduating senior at Stuyvesant High School. He has been affiliated with CYI for three years. He participated in CBD '10 and CLP '11, '13. This is his second year coordinating and is excited to be working with CYI again.

Lynna Zhong, Workshop Coordinator
Lynna is a rising junior at Wesleyan University majoring in Government and hoping to pursue a career in pharmacy. This is her first year working with CBD and CYI. After participating in many high school diversity conferences and leading Wesleyan's Asian American Student Collective, she is excited to enlighten and empower today's youth and make CBD 2013 the best one yet!

Jenny Li, Program Advisor
Jenny is a rising junior at Brown University and is the advisor for CBD weekend for her second year. She has been involved with CYI since 2009: volunteering for CLP, facilitating a workshop on environmental justice for CBD ’10, and facilitating for SLI ’11. She is incredibly excited to be back with CYI and knows of no other place she would rather be.

All our participation is youth-led. Outreach efforts include creating materials and distributing them at various community institutions, such as libraries, the Museum of the Chinese in the Americas, Charles B. Wang Community Health Cen­ter Teen Resource Center, and the YMCA.

Participation for both the 2009 and 2010 Con­ference and the CBD was suc­cessful. About 100 participants at­tended the conference and over 200 participants participated in the clean-up the following day. CBD is regularly covered by lo­cal newspapers, including World Journal, Sing Tao, China Press, and the Downtown Press. Sino­vision covers the event as well.

Get Involved

We will be opening registration for the conference to high school students in July. If you are interested in facilitating a workshop for the youth conference, email

Chinatown Youth Initiatives | P.O. Box 130046 | New York, NY 10013