Students Connect to Academics and Adventure

August 31, 2016

Student success with Colorado Youth Leaders

More Colorado students have an opportunity to succeed in Advanced Placement (AP) courses while strengthening their leadership skills and giving back to their local communities.

With the help of a $20,000 grant from Bank of America, CEI’s Colorado Legacy Schools (CLS) program partnered with Colorado Young Leaders (CYL) to bring new opportunities to high school students. 

While CLS provides academic supports for students to succeed in AP courses, CYL offers service, leadership, and adventure.

“We’re really excited to partner with CEI to offer our program in three more Jeffco high schools – Green Mountain, Jefferson, and Wheat Ridge,” said CYL’s program director Jessica Harper. “We really think we’re on to something here by offering a good overlap of academic and social skills that kids need to experience as they choose a career or college pathway.”

Harper says CYL’s nonprofit leadership training for high school students is designed to tap into the talents and creativity of a student body.

“By creating the space for kids to leverage their time at school towards leadership skills we also help students who are just searching for their passions,” she said. “Today’s students are looking for a way to contribute to their communities in meaningful ways while learning the skills that will help them become better leaders.”

Students find CYL in a variety of ways. “We meet students who are looking for a connection to volunteer and service hours for school or their college applications, some kids are looking to give back to their communities in meaningful ways, and others just hear about us from their friends who are already involved with our program,” said Harper.

Wheat Ridge High School teacher Elliott Holm sees the partnership as an incredible opportunity for his students. “This is a match made in heaven for our students to work with CYL to plan and organize their own service projects in their own community,” he said. “Not only do our kids get to earn volunteer hours, but have a blast while doing it – plus, they give back to the community, make connections for their future, and find friends they may have never had before.”

CEI’s CLS director Greg Hessee knows how valuable a program like CYL can be to students. “These kinds of supports dramatically increase students’ college readiness and their ability to succeed when they get to college or career,” said Hessee. “This is a unique opportunity for students to build on their academics while developing social competencies through CYL’s leadership projects.”

Learn how your school can get involved with the CLS and visit the CYL website  to find a program in your area.