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My high school had a rule that if any student was tardy 3 or more times, they would receive detention. I was always a rule follower and avoided trouble at all costs, but sometimes I was 5-10 minutes late because of my carpool. I remember actually feeling angry about the rule, it’s such an extreme consequence for teenagers who had trouble getting to school by 7 am each day. Here’s how I solved my problem: on any day I was going to be late, I would just skip school entirely to avoid detention. The result was that instead of missing 5 -10 minutes of homeroom, I would miss a full day of instruction. I never got detention, but I also missed enough days of school that my grades suffered. Nothing about that experience was restorative. I didn’t grow as a person, and the only thing I learned was that high school was another “us vs. them” kind of place.

50 years ago today, members of the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, etc.) community began a series of demonstrations against the Manhattan police for perpetual harassment and social discrimination at the Stonewall Inn. A place of refuge for many, the Stonewall Inn, an openly gay bar in New York City in the 1960’s, was frequently raided by police (1). Usually patrons scattered into the streets but this time, they rallied together.

Here at CYC we’re pulled in two different directions. We’re optimistic about the work that’s been done in the past 10 years, cutting the number of students who drop out nearly in half from more than 18,000 in 2005.

Yet as we all know, Colorado is changing rapidly and becoming one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. The employment sector is also changing and focused on high-growth industry pathways like information and technology and construction —jobs that often require a diploma and post-secondary education. A study by Georgetown University estimates that 74 percent of all jobs in Colorado will require high school completion and some level of a post-secondary education by next year.

A bell rings signaling the five-minute warning. For the 1,300 students trickling into class, it’s just another day, but for our 75 AmeriCorps members, it’s another chance to make a difference. At Colorado Youth for a Change, we constantly analyze our data and share stories of student success, but we don’t often write about the individuals on the other side of this equation. Over the course of the 2018-2019 year, Colorado Youth for a Change AmeriCorps members will accumulate over 88,544 hours serving communities across Colorado. On this MLK Day, a day dedicated to service, we wanted to highlight those who devote every day to serving.

CYC’s Master Coaches are a critical part of the Colorado Reading Corps program. All former teachers, these staff members bring a wealth of passion and experience to CYC’s unique literacy program. Click to read an interesting interview with one of our Master Coaches who provides insights into the joys and challenges of teaching.

Our mission continues to be solving the dropout crisis in Colorado and we can honestly say that we have made enormous strides in helping the children and youth of Colorado stay on track and graduate.
With each year, Colorado Youth for a Change (CYC) has expanded its programming and strived to serve more and more students. For the 2017-2018 school year, we served 2,801* students—by far the most amount of students ever served by us. A big part of that gain was the addition of the Colorado Reading Corps program, which initially started in 2014 at Mile High United Way. We’re especially excited about this program because it expands our services into kindergarten and is truly the most preventative work we can do.

Language has the power to make others feel included, seen and empowered. But for that to be a reality, we have to actively and attentively change the way that we communicate. Gender-inclusive language is not something that has been normalized or taught in our educational system, so it is up to us to UN-learn gendered and exclusionary language.
But, why does this matter? Words are just, well, words. Not so much.

The statistics drew me in: students who can’t read by the end of third grade are 4x more likely to drop out of school (Annie E. Casey Foundation). Students who do not learn to read proficiently by the end of third grade almost never catch up in school. I wanted to do something to help, and CYC’s Colorado Reading Corps program allowed me to take action.

Futures Academy, a Colorado Youth for a Change program within Aurora Public Schools, recently held its Recognition Ceremony to honor student accomplishment. It’s an amazing day and it’s hard to describe the excitement. Especially moving is the fact that many of these students had, at one point, given up the hope of accomplishing anything academically.

On average CYC serves about 140 students who were in foster care or are currently in foster care each year. This is about 6 to 7 percent of the students we serve and one of the smaller populations of students we support.

When we started CYC in 2005, we saw dropout numbers go down steadily for the first five years. Then they started to slow down a bit and have since plateaued.

ServeMinnesota is honored to announce that its strategic initiative, Reading Corps, has been selected as a Library of Congress Literacy Awards honoree. Reading Corps, an AmeriCorps program, is one of just four organizations worldwide to be recognized in reading instruction and tutoring.

JEFFERSON PARK — Colorado Youth for a Change (CYC) reengages at-risk students and helps them get their high school diploma, GED or even an associate degree.

“The work that we’re doing is the right work to be done for this population,” says Robert Ham, CYC’s development director. “If we don’t invest on the front end in these students who have disengaged from school, we will pay for it on the back end, in health care, prison and social service costs, not to mention the lost potential of these students.”

For the third year in a row, students from Colorado Youth For a Change ran the 5K on Saturday, May 20th as part of the Colfax Marathon.

Four years ago, Colorado High School Charter faced possible closure. Today, the Denver charter became one of the few alternative education campuses to be on the state’s accountability clock for five years before completing a turnaround to meet expectations.

The principal, Clark Callahan, states that one of the major factors in the improvement was partnering with Colorado Youth for a Change.

Colorado Youth for a Change's Educational Intervention program
focuses on supporting 9th and 10th grade students failing 1-2 core courses, but also serves additional students based on the individual school’s need.

Research shows that one failure of a core course in the ninth grade decreases a student's chance of graduating by 20 percent — a decrease that continues for each additional course failure.

At Englewood High School, Julie Begin's relationship with students balances friendly banter and encouragement with strong focus on academics.

The CRN is the nation’s first mutual support network, and streamlines the coordination of regional and statewide student reengagement efforts to better serve students throughout Colorado. It serves as a model for other states. The network is supported by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and spearheaded by Colorado Youth for a Change (CYC).

The Colorado Reengagement Network will host a series of networking conference calls leading up to October Count. The calls will provide an open forum for district and school administrators, teachers, and community organizers to share reengagement strategies.