“Whole School, Whole Child.” This is the motto used by City Year staff members who dedicate their early careers to enrich the lives of at-risk youth and help prepare them for graduation and a successful future.
City Year has been involved in the Santa Clara County school system for 17 years. For the past two seasons, they have been one of the Sharks Foundation’s grant recipients. This year, they received $25,000, which will impact up to 2,500 students.
The “Whole School, Whole Child” program identifies, supports and redirects students who are at risk of grade failure. City Year staff members serve full-time in under resourced schools and communities as tutors who provide academic support, mentoring and a positive role model.
Their services are critical to these high-need areas. According to City Year staff member Stephanie Kim, 2,300 students drop out of Santa Clara County high schools every year. This figure costs the government over $400 million annually in crime, destruction, healthcare and lost wages. In order to reverse this trend, City Year targets elementary-aged students displaying early warning signs and enacts preventative measures to keep them in school and on track.
City Year’s work focuses on three key aspects called the “ABC’s” (attendance, behavior, and coursework) and their work has proven to be very effective. Nearly 80% of the students involved in the program have improved their attendance, 87% have demonstrated an improvement in behavior, and 50% have shown significant gains in math and literacy, far outpacing non-City Year students.
The Sharks Foundation recently had the opportunity to see City Year at work by observing the students at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in San Jose in the after school program. During these after school sessions, the students work with City Year members to complete their homework and engage in fun, educational enrichment activities once their homework is completed.
The passion and dedication of the staff was evident, and it was clear that the program has flourished at Cesar Chavez.
With support from community organizations like the Sharks Foundation and the government, City Year can continue reducing the dropout rate and improving the lives of the students. To learn more about how you can support City Year, visit www.CityYear.org.