The challenges and secondary effects of the pandemic continue to be a major factor for Eagle County’s youth and families. Recovery has been especially slow for young people who are struggling academically and social-emotionally. Thanks to exceptional community support, YouthPower365 has been ready and responsive. We have launched initiatives like AmeriCorps Peak Pathfinders to meet new needs and grow our capacity to have a positive impact during this critical time.
YouthPower365 has also been investing time and resources in strengthening our continuum of supports from early childhood to college and career readiness; whether through family engagement, or near-peer mentorship, beginning post-secondary advising earlier than ever before, or awarding a college scholarship to a Magic Bus preschool graduate. Being part of a child’s life every step of the way through graduation is what makes YouthPower365 unique. Thank you for working side-by-side with us to ensure each child reaches their full potential.
IMPACT BY THE NUMBERS
*limited enrollment due to COVID
The power to
FIND THEIR WAY
Despite all the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions on YouthPower365 programs – daily contract tracing with the district, both public and state licensing inspections, social distancing requirements, limited use of supplies and equipment, daily intense cleaning and sanitation, and small cohorting – the organization continued to operate quality programs at 11 schools in the 2020-2021 school year. In afterschool, 863 students were served. As well, 1,609 students participated virtually through Celebrate the Beat.
A summer of recovery
YouthPower365 worked closely with the school district this summer to address learning loss from the pandemic. Summer camp for K-8th grade extended to four weeks, instead of three. The charge for camp was drastically reduced to $10 per family for the entire experience, recognizing families were still struggling economically. In addition to traditional learning and fun, elementary students were also supported by literary and math interventionists. Middle school focused more on experiential learning and social-emotional skill building to get students engaged and excited about learning again. The middle school camp had four themed weeks including adventure, service, STEM, and career discovery. In addition, the Hope Center, which provides behavioral health guidance and support, spent two weeks with students in small groups.
YouthPower365’s new Peak Pathfinders program placed 10 full-time AmeriCorps members in schools to support 6th-12th graders identified as struggling academically and/or social-emotionally. Members provide mentoring, intervention, tutoring, and wrap-around supports for students and their families. The members are in five schools: Eagle Valley High School, Battle Mountain High School, Red Canyon High School, Berry Creek Middle School, and Gypsum Creek Middle School. The members are all from different states outside of Colorado and have diverse backgrounds.
Tools for success
YouthPower365, in partnership with Eagle County Schools, launched an Industry Certification Program (ICP) for local youth grades 8-12. To ensure that students are more prepared to enter the workforce, students who complete the ICP will receive industry certifications recognized by the State of Colorado. In this pilot year, ICP is offering students the opportunity to receive industry certifications in Information Technology and Personal Training & Nutrition.
A future together
The Eagle County Collaborative for Career Pathways, a partnership between YouthPower365, Vail Valley Partnership, and Eagle County Schools, will support youth grades 7-12 as they gain the knowledge, skills, and expertise necessary to obtain and sustain a quality career. The collaborative will work to increase career exploration opportunities, the number of students identifying post-secondary pathways, job-readiness aptitude for students, and offerings of apprenticeships, internships, and industry certification programs. The Collaborative was awarded $971,600 in scale funding from the SyncUp Colorado Workforce Design Challenge for Breakthrough Partnership Solutions.
For me, with all these resources, it’s not the knowledge or the things that they tell me, but it’s more about the support and them telling me, ‘You can do this, and we’re going to find ways to get you to college, we’re going to find ways to pay for it.’
I love leading the Girl PowHER group at GCMS! Our girls are smart, curious, and creative! I always look forward to Tuesdays and the conversations and camaraderie during our sessions fills my bucket for the week. I can tell that Girl PowHER makes a difference in the lives of these girls, as they always eagerly ask me what we will be up to in the week ahead.
Not only does YouthPower365 have an academic standard they hold kids to, they also provide academic support after school to help kids meet that expectation. Being able to provide a safe place where kids feel welcomed and can have fun playing soccer has been an awesome experience to be a part of.
I joined YouthPower365 when I was in sixth grade. In sixth grade I had a lot of missing work for school and couldn't play [soccer] because of that on some Saturdays. As the years went on YouthPower365 helped me to stay on task in school and do my best in order to play. This year as an eighth grader, I’ve not missed one weekend of playing due to bad grades or missing work. YouthPower365 taught me to be more focused in school, to be positive, and to try my best in everything I do.
It’s just really freeing, because you get to be in your own little world, and you get to take these puppets and you are the one who gets to bring them to life and move them around. I think it’s just an amazing experience.
“Young people throughout our community will now have a complete tool set for to help them examine and determine their future. This [Collaborative for Career Pathways] funding will continue to grow the robust post-secondary readiness opportunities that exist in Eagle County School District and provide students with enhanced mentorship and guidance they need to explore different career pathways, and to make quality decisions that will ultimately have a tremendous positive impact on their lives and for all of us in the community.
Unlocking the power of
The next generation
Success at the STARS VARIETY SHOW
In 2021 we hosted, for the first time ever, the YouthPower365 Stars Variety Show on July 13, 2021. The event was a new twist on the exceptionally popular Star Dancing Gala, which has served as YouthPower365’s largest single fundraiser for more than a decade.
The event was a resounding success and a true community effort. Not only did a wide array of local talent take the stage for a night of creative entertainment, but attendance exceeded expectations and the event raised more than $1 million for YouthPower365.
To support the work of our new AmeriCorps program, YouthPower365 boosted our family engagement efforts. This work aims to support families in their children’s learning, strengthen local family-school community partnership, and increase the impact of our programs. In many ways, this extends both the successful family engagement of Magic Bus and the intent of Parent Mentors into other areas of child development – 4th grade to 12th grade. The following are additional driving forces in this new work:
Family engagement is more predicative of a child’s lifelong health, development, and learning than socioeconomics. This is especially true for low-income children. According to the research, family engagement also improves academic performance, attendance, and graduation rates.
Thirteen percent of families served by YouthPower365 have less than a high school education, and 30 percent do not have beyond a high school diploma. To ensure a child reaches their full potential, the family’s learning must also be supported.
Due to internet service gaps and technology illiteracy, some families struggle navigating the online enrollment system for YouthPower365 programs. Surveys have also indicated from both parents and teachers, that Spanish speaking families need more support to register for programs.
Eighty-three percent of families learn about YouthPower365 from schools, family, and friends. As a result, reaching children who need us means investing more in targeted outreach and relationship building.
Family engagement aims to increase awareness of the full continuum of programs that YouthPower365 offers from early childhood to college and career readiness to make sure youth and families are supported every step of the way.
To further integrate partner supports, YouthPower365 established a partnership with Mountain Recreation to add a fourth day down valley at three schools. It is focused primarily on physical activity, and the programming has been very well received by parents, kids, and teachers.
YouthPower365 also created an internship program starting in Summer Camp 2021 and continued it through Career X for the school year. The interns support afterschool programs, and plans for the future include developing a future educator program and pathway with Eagle County Schools to launch next summer.
Many of our middle school programs have expanded enrichment opportunities for youth afterschool. In addition to programs like Girl PowHER, The CLUB, and soccer, some schools are adding interest-specific clubs for sewing, ballet folklórico, cooking, unicycling, adventure, chess, and many more. The same academic support remains a staple of the program. Near-peer mentorship is also a component of this work – high schoolers impacting middle schoolers who impact elementary school students.
Uniting for a positive IMPACT
Each of our program participants has been affected in a unique way by the additional difficulties posed by the pandemic. Each individual is navigating its lasting primary and secondary effects in their own way. Throughout this process, reliable guidance from trusted mentors and teachers has been incredibly important.
The Vail Valley Foundation has been providing education programming since 1981, but never has there been a time when the work has been more important to ensuring that every young person in our community has the support they need to find a successful way forward. Together, thanks to our exceptionally generous community, we are making an incredible positive impact on the lives of all our young people and families.
Photo Carousel 1: First steps of the YouthPower365 continuum of supports at Magic Bus graduation and The Steadman Clinic COPA 2021. Photos by Chris Kendig and Jon Resnick.
Photo Carousel 2: Soccer time! The Steadman Clinic COPA and Academic Soccer help keep young people on track. Photos by Jon Resnick.
Photo Carousel 3: There was much to celebrate with Celebrate the Beat – Eagle County in 2021! Photos by Jon Resnick.
Photo Carousel 4: Girl PowHER and The CLUB give boys and girls the space and mentorship they need to grow. Photos by Dan Davis.
Photo Carousel 5: The YouthPower365 Stars Variety Show helped raise more than $1m for YouthPower365 programs. Photos by Rex Keep.
Photo Carousel 6: Elementary summer camps took flight in 2021. Photos by Dan Davis.