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Case Study: Deepening Impacts with Young Life

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Improving Educational Outcomes for Students and Schools

In October, Young Life New York renewed an innovative partnership with 20/20 Vision for Schools dedicated to making schools better schools and students better students. In Phase Two of our partnership, we will expand our work from eleven schools in five New York neighborhoods to every neighborhood where Young Life has a presence.

Blazing Trails. Trailblazing youth ministry on and around public school campuses is nothing new to Young Life. It’s been the defining characteristic of their work nationally for more than 70 years.

But as successful as Young Life has been engaging millions of teens in suburban America since 1941, they have struggled to achieve scale in big cities. Over the last decade, Young Life has taken the challenge of reaching city kids head on, deploying visionary leaders like Aswan Morris, Lawrence Coles, Carolyn Giles, J.L. Escobar, Tiffany RaeLynn, Alberto Avila, and others to cities like New York.

Game Changer. Since 20/20′s launch as an awareness campaign in 2008, Regional Director Paul Coty has believed that 20/20′s School Engagement Paradigm could be a game changer for how Young Life engages city schools across the country. In 2011, working with the newly appointed Divisional Vice President John Wagner, Coty engineered a two-year experimental partnership between 20/20 and Young Life New York framed around the challenge to demonstrate that Young Life’s presence on a public school campus improves educational outcomes for students.

Wrap-Around Supports. To that end, 20/20 has worked with Young Life Area Directors in East New York, Harlem, Jamaica, the South Bronx, and Washington Heights to facilitate partnerships that provide wrap-around supports for high-risk students. Since 2011, we have established ongoing programs including performing arts, student leadership, athletics, and/or mentoring at the following schools:

  • Intermediate School 8 (Jamaica, Queens)
  • Springfield Gardens High School (Jamaica, Queens)
  • Gershwin Academy Middle School (East New York, Brooklyn)
  • Watch Academy High School (East New York, Brooklyn)
  • Harlem Village Academy (Harlem)
  • PS/IS 180 (Harlem)
  • Harlem Renaissance Academy (Harlem)
  • Inwood Academy for Leadership (Manhattan)

In each case the specific program responds to felt needs at the school — generally arising from budget cuts or particular community dynamics — and mobilizes preexisting community assets from the neighborhood to fill those gaps. In addition, we have provided life skills workshops and motivational assemblies at:

  • Jamaica High School (Queens)
  • Eagles Academy High School (Bronx)
  • Bread and Roses High School (Harlem)

For more on Young Life New York, visit them online.

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