Increase the high school graduation rate
Youth feel physically and emotionally safe
Strategy 1: Foster Literacy, Academic Success, and School Engagement
Education is a lifelong experience that begins well before a child ever sets foot in a classroom and continues long past a cap‐and‐gown commencement. It is the broadest avenue to opportunity and the most influential factor in ensuring that children will grow up to do as well or better than their parents. We fund programs that intervene and support economically-disadvantaged youth with a focus on tutoring, attendance, educational advocacy and more.
Strategy 2: Out-of-School Programming
Students that feel safe outside of school can better focus on their education.
We fund programs that provide security and support for youth outside of school.
Strategy 3: Facilitate Youth-Adult Relationships
Having a single, supportive adult in their lives is one of the strongest indicators for student success.
We fund programs that provide youth with mentors or other adults that can model, support or advocate for youth.
Strategy 4: On-Site School Programming
Supporting a safe environment for youth and giving them the tools to stay safe themselves is vital. We support work that focuses on teaching youth about conflict resolution, positive interactions, community safety and more.
Stories Worth Telling
Student success is about more than grades: When Samantha first started coming to Alternatives for Youth, she exhibited severe social issues that were impacting her success in school. While she was doing average work academically, she demonstrated very poor social skills. It came to the staff members' attention that she was fearful of interacting with others and often suffered panic attacks when forced to do so. She had no meaningful relationships with her peers and had difficulty advocating for herself or expressing her opinion to others. Read more...
Why This Matters
- While Washtenaw County boasts an average graduation rate higher than the state average (87%), economically disadvantaged youth graduate at a significantly lower rate: 72%1
- In order for children to meet developmental milestones, learn, grow and lead productive lives, it is critical that they be healthy. Good social-emotional and mental health is a key component of children’s healthy development. Poverty, trauma, and inadequate treatment are three factors that have been shown to have a sustained, negative impact on children’s social, emotional and mental health.2 Recent surveys of Washtenaw County students revealed that 29% of middle school students reported being bullied on school property in the past year, while 68% of African-American students witnessed in-school physical abuse.
- Among middle and high school students in Washtenaw County, 25% report depression and 15% have seriously considered suicide within the past year. Twelve youth (ages 15-24) in Washtenaw County died by suicide in 2016.
1 Washtenaw Alliance for Children and Youth. 2015 Report Card on the Status of School-Aged Youth in Washtenaw County
2 Center for the Study of Social Policy (2012). Results-based public policy strategies for promoting children's social, emotional and behavioral health.
3Washtenaw Alliance for Children and Youth. 2015 Report Card on the Status of School-Aged Youth in Washtenaw County
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