We at Youth Discovery Inc, YDI, have been experimenting with and supporting various programs for Latino youth over the last several years. From these programs we have learned much about what works and what doesn’t.
We partnered with the Utah Conservation Corps, UCC, and Golden Spike National Monument to provide productive and educational summer work for multicultural youth, mostly Latinos called Bilingual Youth Corps. This is now being funded by other agencies and has become a very successful and model institution. It provides productive summer work for Latino high school students. The program has already expanded from Utah State University in Logan, Utah, to another U.S. Forest Service program in Salt Lake City. We expect to see it continue to expand to many other areas where AmeriCorps and Conversation Corps are operating.
At Mount Logan Middle School, MLMS, two teachers Bryce Passey and Eric Newell developed an innovative program. called Discovery, to inspire under achieving 6th graders coming from the local elementary schools. Typically the two teachers would have a class of 70 or so students, but each morning and each afternoon one of the teachers would take 6 to 8 students into the outdoors to observe the environment, write in their journals with an emphasis on advanced vocabulary, and read an adventure novel related to the environment they were visiting. YDI helped to support and fund this program and make it a permanent part of the MLMS curriculum. See: http://news.hjnews.com/news/article_af28ff8e-8cb2-11e0-a4de-001cc4c002e0.html?mode=jqm.
From the Discovery program YDI developed and funded a similar program to take ESL students into the outdoors as well. It worked so well that it is now funded by other agencies on a permanent basis. Please browse the writings of the students which you can find on the ESL Discovery page. The ESL department at MLMS and other teachers involved with minority students are very excited about the benefits of the ESL Discovery class.
Bryce and Eric also initiated a 2 week summer program called River Rats for the 6th graders coming into their Discovery program. It developed the self-confidence of the youth and a rapport with the teachers. YDI funded this program during many years that MLMS didn’t have the budget for it. YDI also funded a program called Summer Discovery for Latino and other minority youth which was different than the ESL Discovery program, i. e. just for the summer.
From the River Rats program Bryce and Eric developed a 1 week summer program called ESL Summer Discovery funded by YDI. This helped the ESL youth become better prepared for the curriculum of the coming year.
YDI sponsored and funded the first ever attendance of minorities at Latino Summer Camps of the American West Heritage Center and the Stokes Nature Center summer programs, called . We feel that this was a good program of experience for the youth, but it did not incorporate many of the Enhancing Youth Self-Esteem so we have not continued this program.
Another program funded by YDI was the MESA Outdoors program. MESA ( Math, Engineering ,Science Achievement) outdoors enabled the teachers of these programs at 6 high schools and middle schools to give the students some outdoor supplements to their other activities. This program was useful, but did not incorporate many of the Enhancing Youth Self Esteem and so it is another program that we have learned from but not continued.
To provide meaningful summer employment to Latino youth YDI funded Latino high school interns to help the programs of Common Ground Outdoor Adventures and Stokes Nature Center. Again, we feel this was a worthwhile project, but it did not incorporate long term involvement as outlined in the Enhancing Youth Self Esteem. We really like these programs but feel we can accomplish much more by a long term focus on the Self-Discovery Class.
For the last 4 years Youth Discovery Inc, YDI, has employed 8 Latino youth at Mountain Crest High School in Hyrum, Utah to be after school tutors. The program provides an income for the students as well as a valuable service to the tutored students. Two sets of tutors stay at Mountain Crest and tutor students needing help in Math. They are engaged almost every afternoon by students needing extra help.
The other six Latino tutors go to local elementary schools or middle schools to tutor younger students. The experience enhances the self esteem of the tutors, and gives the Latino children at the elementary school someone older with whom they can relate.
MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) is a state funded after school program to encourage females and minority students to seek careers in the above fields. Youth Discovery has funded a component at 6 high schools or middle schools to enable outdoor activities, thus enhancing the MESA experience. Both teachers and students alike appreciate the outdoor challenges. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematics,_Engineering,_Science_Achievement
Youth Discovery has employed two Latino students to work as interns for the summer at another non-profit, Common Ground Outdoor Adventures, who serves disabled individuals by getting them into outdoor adventure experiences. The Latino interns gain valuable employment experience and give great service to the organization and the individuals. See http://www.cgadventures.org/
Youth Discovery donated about 20 mountain bikes to Cache High, an alternative high school, in Cache County School District, CCSD, for academically and emotionally challenged youth. The bicycles enabled the high school to establish a bicycle club among all students giving them additional personal relationships with the school faculty.
Youth Discovery donated about 30 sets of snow shoes to Cache County School District, North Logan, Utah, to be used by elementary, middle, and high school students to enhance their outdoor experience during the long Utah winters.
At South Cache Middle School, Hyrum, Utah, many of the Latino and other minority students did not have access to computers to complete their homework. There were either no computers at home, or the ESL students felt intimidated to use the school’s computer lab. Thus 12 computers, half by YDI and half by CCSD, were purchased and placed in the ESL classroom. This enabled the ESL students to gain computer and internet experience in a non-intimidating environment.
For a number of years during its initial growth YDI funded a majority of the expenses of Latinos In Action, LIA, based in Orem, UT. In cooperation with Cache County School District we also paid for and provided them up to 4 VISTA volunteers to help build their program. LIA grew from 8 schools to 113 schools during the period we were funding them and providing them with VISTAs. We learned how powerful it is for the high school student to tutor an elementary student. Many of the principles we saw working in LIA are incorporated into our proposed Self-Discovery Class.
Having sponsored and funded many local programs we are now focusing on the long term goal of developing the Self-Discovery Class which we believe can have a profound effect on all Latino and other minority students in the entire nation.
Youth Discovery Inc.
60 West 1000 North
Logan, UT 84321
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