The Youth to College Program works with multiple schools and community centers in an effort to combat the growing inequities that exist in lower income neighborhoods. The program immerses USD students in the community for 10 hours a week through Federal Work Study. The significant amount of time spent in the community allows USD students to build meaningful relationships with K-12 students, helps fill the growing needs in school classrooms and after school programs, and raises the awareness of the social issues impacting our local community. The Youth to College Program, through intentional trainings and reflections, seeks to inspire college students to become civically engaged change-makers.
USD's Center for Service-Learning, in addition to in-classroom support, works with community parterns to create curriculum for after school programs. The curriculum encourages self-expression, critical thinking, civic engagement, and improved literacy skills among K-12 students. The curriculum is designed through community partnerships, Center for Service-Learning staff, and with graduate and undergraduate students. Federal Work Study students and USD volunteers are also placed in these after school programs to help sustain their growth and create meaningful school-community relationships. The curriculum created includes:
A journaling project and community circle at Montgomery Middle School's Homework Club that seeks to build community, while improving literacy skills, public speaking, and self-expression;
Grade-level, hands-on science lessons created and taught by undergraduate USD science students at various local schools;
A literacy program (Academic Club) for 2nd and 3rd grade students who speak English as a second language at Carson Elementary School, the program is run by Bayside Community Center and USD students support the work by tutoring, creating curriculum, and building relationships that encourage students to go to college and believe in themselves;
A journaling project tied to culture, self-expression, and college/career counseling with Native American youth through the American Indian Recruitment (AIR) Tutorial program; and
A service-learning project that seeks to improve literacy, public speaking, and critical thinking skills at the Montgomery Intersession Academy.
Youth to College
Excerpt from "College Song"
Can’t be left behind
To fulfill my dreams in mind
I’m running out of time
So I gotta go
I think it’s impossible
But I gotta make it happen you know
Can’t let all my goals go
So I gotta go
– Written and produced by local teenagers at the Linda Vista Teen Center