Defining industry-specific terms and simplifying our communication.
When you are a nonprofit for nearly 20 years, you see community needs shift and community responses evolve. Colorado Youth for a Change has also evolved with these needs – sometimes excitedly by adding evidence-based programming like Reading Corps and Math Corps. Other times we’ve shifted reluctantly – like being forced to move programs virtually in response to COVID-19 or closing down programs altogether during this challenging time.
But our work continues across Colorado:
- We’ve scaled up in the face of adversity, adding 555 additional tutors and community outreach AmeriCorps members in 2020, 2021, and 2022
- We’ve helped students and families access food, transportation, and mental health resources;
- We’ve tracked down students who stopped showing up for school and helped them explore options that better fit their needs;
- We’ve supplemented schools with tutors and exposed hundreds of people to careers in education in the face of teacher shortages;
- We’ve provided flexible school options to young people who had leave in order to support their families;
- and so much more.
With organizational change and growth comes reflection. CYC recognized the need to update its mission and vision to better reflect our evolving role, organization values, and growth over time.
We set out to solve Colorado’s dropout crisis in 2005 and what we’ve learned is that too often young people are “pushed out” or “pulled out” of school because of factors beyond their control: caring for family, need to work, no sense of belonging, transportation, homelessness, and so much more. It is difficult to prioritize your education when you are hungry, or you’re missing too much school to keep up, or when you feel unsafe. The individualized support provided by CYC addresses learning gaps and helps students feel a sense of connection and belonging within schools and their communities.
While our programs generate the downstream effects that lead students to succeed when they near the end of their school journeys, our former mission failed to encompass the scope of our work. We’re proud to support students across the continuum at key points that will influence their outcomes. We proudly:
- Prepare young learners to be ready for kindergarten with Early Learning Corps;
- Support more students to reach grade-level in reading at the critical marker (end of third grade) with Reading Corps;
- Guide students to achieving algebra-readiness prior to high school with Math Corps; and
- Provide resources and individualized attention to students at risk of leaving school or who have already left school with Corps for a Change and Reengagement.
We’re excited that our new mission and vision statements illustrate our values. They ground us in partnership with schools, families, and students so that our impact is as unique as those we support.
Vision: Colorado Youth for a Change envisions an equitable education system where each student has access to the resources they need to maximize their own learning and growth.
Mission: Colorado Youth for a Change addresses barriers to learning by providing individualized supports throughout pivotal stages of students’ education journeys.
Thank you for being on this journey with us as an organization! Here’s to another 20 years of supporting Colorado students and schools.