We track youth who have successfully completed our program into college. Our mentored service learning programs have phenomenal success among at-risk, socio –economically challenged, and first generation youth – a population that is less than 20% likely to successfully pursue advanced education after high school. If students complete 30-50 hours, between 12-20 occasions, we move that percentage from 20% to 80% success of advanced education- most often a 2-4 year college degree. We have modified to reach fewer numbers with more depth so that youth adapt their thinking and reasoning to have the strength to be advocates for higher learning, focus on their strengths and passions, make tough choices, and feel connected to their healthier community.
Participants learn new skill sets, master precision, get to utilize constructive thinking, and most importantly have a shared equity and interest in the projects. Through the practice of mutal respect, college-level performance expectations, self-depreciating humor, and empowerment to think outside the box, youth quickly adapt and build new, respectful social and professional bonds with mentors, educators and fellow participants. These youth covet being acknowledged for who they are as individuals, and their personal strengths, not how they rank or score in aptitudes. Once they feel comfortable and safe, they thrive! New youth respect the knowledge of their peer leadership mentors.
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