Access Youth June Quarterly Newsletter
Access Youth is a District of Columbia-based nonprofit that provides at-risk youth with access to the skills, resources and support they need to stay in school and out of the juvenile justice system.
A Note from Our Executive Director 

First, I would like to thank everyone who attended and supported our Annual Celebration. We cannot thank you enough for your generosity. As a founder, it is truly inspiring to see the ripple effect of our volunteers, donors, Board of Directors, and Host Committee result in hundreds of attendees celebrating the success of our programs and our students.

As the 2016 school year comes to a close, we have served almost 450 students through our Truancy Prevention, Alternative to Suspension, and Arrest Diversion Programs across the District. Our largest class to date! We have also have doubled our capacity and added three new program offerings to engage our students-Yoga & Wellness, Student Roundtables and the Youth Advisory Board, providing our students with leadership and advocacy opportunities. Thanks to the tireless work of our Program Managers, we increased the amount of students served by more than 60% and more than doubled our impact at Ballou High School. We look forward to continuing our partnership with DCPS in the coming school year and expanding our Truancy Prevention Program to a third school with new funding from the Deputy Mayor for Education.
   
I am in awe of our students' successes as you will see in our Top 10 Successes of the year and I am humbled by the dedication of our staff, volunteers, donors and Board that make everything possible! Thank you for your ongoing support of the District's most vulnerable youth.

In gratitude, 
Jodi E. Ovca 
Founder & Executive Director 
Student Spotlight 
 
Access Youth first met sophomore Aaron White when he was referred to our Arrest Diversion Program after being arrested for disorderly conduct. Aaron was arrested at a Metro station. Though he had paid his metro fare, he was accused of trespassing, since he had remained on the platform while two trains had passed while he was waiting for his friend. Aaron felt frustrated for getting arrested for violating a law he wasn't even aware of, and singled out for the color of his skin.

Aaron likes to stay involved at school and is a member of the Wilson High School track team. His favorite subject is math and he'd like to study business in college. Since entering Access Youth's programs, Aaron participates in our weekly yoga classes, which helps him to deal with the stressors of his home and school life.
 
He is also a strong leader on our Youth Advisory Board and recently, attended an all-day Attendance Design Challenge hosted by the Deputy Mayor of Education and the DC Equity Lab. He wishes more students could be involved in creating solutions to DC's truancy issues.
Annual Celebration Recap

Thank you so much to those who supported the Access Youth Annual Celebration on April 27th at Longview Gallery! It was such a special evening with the Ballou Drumline leading us to the stage, Deputy Mayor Snowden welcoming attendees, and the venerable Leon Harris leading us through a heartwarming program with his incredible voice. The highlight, as always, was hearing our students share their deeply personal stories with truth, courage, and heart. For them, the opportunity to share their experiences provides a sense of empowerment by amplifying their voices and engaging community members in the issues facing so many young people.  
 

We could not have achieved such a successful evening without the dedication and support of Access attendees, friends, sponsors, Board, staff, and volunteers. Thanks to everyone's incredible generosity our Annual Celebration was a huge success! Not only did we raise over $60,000, but we also raised awareness about DC's need for increased and improved student support services. It's truly inspiring to see a community come together to support at-risk youth. With your support we have taken a step forward to positively impact the lives of so many disadvantaged youth.

Congratulations Class of 2016! 

We are so proud of our 15 Access Youth students who graduated this school year! Their accomplishments demonstrate that with diligence, conviction, and the proper support disadvantage youth can overcome the barriers to education and achieve. Congratulations to the class of 2016, may you continue to succeed in your next endeavors!
Top Ten Success of the 2015-16 School Year!

  1. Our Youth Advisory Board members have spent 55 HOURS engaging with Access Youth since it launched in January 2016.

  2. We have held 8 MONTHLY ROUNDTABLES with 20+ attendees at H.D. Woodson, a new initiative launched in October. Students are invited to attend and lead the roundtable when their school attendance is on track and improving, providing a huge incentive for compliance.

  3. We have served 172 H.D. WOODSON STUDENTS in our programs in this school year.

  4. During the 2015-16 school year, 24 OF OUR H.D. WOODSON STUDENTS made the honor  roll.

  5. The average increase in attendance rates among youth in our programs is 2x GREATER than their peers.

  6. 100% OF YOUTH in the ACE Diversion program this school year have avoided another arrest or contact with the justice system.  

  7. We have served 160 BALLOU STUDENTS during the 2015-2016 school year, more than double the number of youth served last year.

  8. 81% OF YOUTH in our Alternative to Suspension Program at Ballou High School have avoided subsequent suspensions.

  9. 85% OF YOUTH surveyed in our Arrest Prevention Program report that their mediation sessions helped them to talk to their parents and improved communication.

  10. Our Arrest Prevention Program has held 18 YOGA AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT CLASSES.
3259 Prsopect Street, NW Washington, DC 20007| (202) 652-0287| accessyouthinc.org
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