The Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Mission: To help all youth, at-risk and with special needs to transition into the workforce or back to school.
While graduation from high school is a natural life event for teenagers, for many students this requires more planning, negotiation, and decision-making.
For every 100 ninth graders in America…69 graduate from high school, 42 enter college, 28 return to college for their sophomore year, and only 20 earn a bachelor’s degree within six years. Only 45% of students enrolled in post-secondary education will earn a bachelor’s degree.
Recent research on high school performance shows that large numbers of high school graduates are not adequately prepared for post-secondary education. In fact thirty-nine percent (39%) of recent high school graduates currently enrolled in college say they were not prepared for the expectations of college. College professors estimate that 42% of college students are not adequately prepared by their high schools to meet the rigor of college coursework.
“In just ten years, more than 60% of all new jobs will require a college education, yet currently only 38% of young adults, ages 25-34, have a college degree. Where will our educated work force come from?”
Graduation ceremonies at schools across the country ended months ago with inspirational speeches, celebrations, and $5 billion in congratulatory gifts. But for a large number of students, college graduation is merely a dream.
According to a study by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, more than 1.3 million students drop out of high school each year —about 7,000 per day. Who most likely did not graduate? The study says graduation rates hover around 92% for Asian/Pacific Islanders, 82% for Caucasians, 65% for African Americans, and 54% for Hispanics.
There are more than half a million students in Texas schools who are at risk of dropping out during any given school year. Sadly, many of these young people just become a statistic, thereby negatively impacting their families and their entire community.
Students choices about where they want to live and work and whether or not they want to continue their education are a bit more challenging. High school is the last time that the student will be “entitled” to receive support or services. CRR educates and encourages students to make the most of their time there. We promote and assist students with identifying a plan before students graduate from high school. We can help our students successfully transition into adulthood.
The goal of YES is to help youth, ages 14-24, make a successful transition into the workforce or back to school but know that YES places a solid emphasis in continuing education. Our YES Outreach program enables youth to assess their interests and abilities, explore career options, define career goals, and determine the steps needed to achieve education and employment.
YES is offered through partnerships with community-based organizations which include: Houston Independent School District schools in the Third and Fifth Wards and the Acres Homes neighborhood, Ft. Bend Independent School District, and institutions of higher education such as Houston Community Colleges.
Our YES program provides the necessary tools and support to equip future leaders in the community and workplace, while mitigating the ills of poverty that affect youth such as homelessness, unemployment, criminal behavior and high school truancy, thus breaking a cycle that has plagued urban youth for the past two decades.
CRR currently provides educational outreach to our YES program that helps low to moderate-income, at risk youth ages 14-24 stay in high school, enter a vocational trade program, or get a job. We reach out to more than 5,000 students annually through auditorium speakers, community events, and school fairs. In most instances, the students we speak with have no awareness of the categories of employment beyond minimum wage fast-food restaurant worker positions that are available.
This year, CRR plans to expand our YES outreach program by incorporating these service components:
- Life skills training to address employment and money issues.
- Career assessments & interpretation to provide career decision-making tools that help students develop an understanding of their interests, skills and values in relation to choosing a major or training program.
- Career Awareness Workshops that teach students how to begin a personal career search and later refine that search.
- Personal Individual Counseling sessions to provide one-on-one career guidance.
- Job Search Workshops to teach techniques for locating jobs, interviewing techniques, communicating with employers, and retaining employment.
- Guests speakers from the business community or student peers to provide a better understanding of the world of work.
- Volunteer mentors to provide helpful adult role models to share experiences and coach students to achieve their full potential.
We have a qualified, Master’s-degreed, career counselor on staff who provides support to the YES program. This encompasses career exploration, career assessments and interpretation, and career and academic guidance.
What We Do:
- YES helps youth to take the lead in planning for their adult lives.
- YES shares important information that encourages youth to begin thinking about life after graduation.
- YES offers ideas they can use to plan routes to reach their goals.
Story of Impact from our YES program Coordinator and Career Counselor, Cynthia Jackson, MSW:
I have a new YES client that I will call Terri that has been raised by her drug-addicted father since she was 13 years old. Her mother abandoned the home and there was no extended family that stepped in to assist them. The idea of being placed in a foster care environment was grossly unacceptable, and Terri has developed a strong protector characteristic when it comes to taking care of her father.
The father-daughter family is in and out of homelessness and attending school is not a priority. Currently, they are homeless and Terri’s father is struggling with drug abuse and missing in action. A stranger rescued this now 17 years old young woman (18 years old on September 16, 2016) and has opened her home to her.
The Fall of 2016 should have been Terri’s senior year in high school, but she did not attend the 11th grade so CRR was contacted to identify a GED program. Today, Terri and her new guardian came to the CRR office. We continued the conversation regarding education and proceeded to provide a career assessment to Terri who said with severe doubt, “when I was a little girl, I wanted to be a nurse.”
Once the assessment was completed it stated that nursing would be a recommended career, we discussed the future that was possible. There was a smile on Terri’s face from ear to ear. You could see the new sparkle in her eyes that previously were quite dim because of her horrible life experiences. You could see when Terri’s mind fired that this can be my future…the dream is possible!
How do you measure on paper when a child, like Terri, hugs you so tightly with appreciation that you can’t breathe? You know it’s sincere and that Terri will need cheerleaders in her life to keep her focused on her college and career goals.
And then she says, “I have to tell my Dad. He will be so happy!”
For more information please contact Cynthia Jackson at 713.754.7089 Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org