Access Youth September Quarterly Newsletter
Access Youth is a District of Columbia-based nonprofit that provides disadvantaged 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

September is a time of new beginnings, fresh starts and hints of fall. For me, it is also a time to reflect as a new school year begins. This September marks our 8th year and our renewed commitment to ensure that our children should go to school and feel safe, should be encouraged to stay in school, and should never be pushed out of school. Our most vulnerable youth and their families need to be given resources; they don't need to be punished and prosecuted and put into the juvenile justice system.
 
With your support, this year we will have served 2,000 of the District of Columbia's youth across our three programs designed to curb the school-to-prison pipeline by reducing truancy, suspensions, and juvenile arrests. We have expanded our services to two new DCPS schools- Eastern and Anacostia High Schools, and with grant funding from the Deputy Mayor of Education we will increase the number of students we serve by 40%
to serve over 500 students this school year.  
 
In August, we doubled the size of our staff and added five new talented program managers to the Access Youth Team, making this our most diverse and experienced team to date! And thanks to the generosity and support of Fair Chance we will host our AmeriCorps VISTA Lila Blackney for a second term to focus on implementing our new fundraising strategy and enhancing our marketing and communications.

With our new team in place, the dedication of our Board of Directors, Youth Advisory Board, volunteers and funders, this year we will reach more students and families and give them the opportunity to change their futures.


Meet Our New Staff

We are thrilled to introduce our five new program managers, who will spearhead the Truancy Prevention and Restorative Justice in Schools programs at Ballou, Eastern, and Anacostia high schools! Please join me in welcoming Truancy Prevention Program Managers Thomasina Millner, Domonique Saunders, and Kate Salasky, and our Restorative Justice Program Managers Charity Jones and Thomas Carter. Each member of our team brings the diverse skill set, background, and experience to strengthen the organization, inspire our students, and help us exceed our goals.

          Kate                   Thomasina                 Thomas                 Domonique              Charity
Summer Programming with our Youth Advisory Board

For the first time since the creation of our school-based programs, we were able to provide summer programming to the members of our Youth Advisory Board. As a reward for their impressive school year, we offered several fun outings, including a style and business panel with Blue Print for Style's Monica Barnett and Taylor & York's Ashleigh Taylor. Our students absolutely loved practicing style and etiquette tips, discussing post-college plans, and learning ways to combine their passions with marketable skills from two fabulous ladies who have paved the way. Thank you so much Monica and Ashleigh for sharing your expertise, teaching our girls new skills, and believing in their future!
Our Visit with Attorney General Karl Racine

At the end of the summer, Attorney General of the District of Columbia, Karl Racine observed and participated in one of our Access Youth Arrest Prevention mediation sessions with students and their families. He was able to see firsthand how effective mediation is as an alternative to arrest and the juvenile justice system. We greatly appreciate his support of our program and commitment to increasing access to restorative justice District-wide. His acknowledgement, as well as the recent award of a new contract with the Department of Human Services to provide restorative justice services to the District's youth, recognizes the effectiveness and long-term benefits of our work. Serving over 1,800 of the District's most vulnerable youth since 2009, Access Youth is currently the most utilized community partner of the widely acclaimed ACE Diversion Program with more than 60 youth currently active in our program. 
September is Attendance Awareness Month!

Even the best teachers are ineffective if a child is not physically present to learn. Students missing as little as 2 days a month will accumulate enough absences in the school year to be considered chronically truant. Research shows school attendance is crucial for academic success and is indicative of a child graduating from high school. According to nationwide data collected by Attendance Works, half of the 6.5 million truant students are contained in just 4% of US school districts, including Washington, DC. Access Youth's newly expanded Truancy Prevention Program works to combat chronic absenteeism by targeting students with 5-8 absences to create comprehensive attendance plans, and give them access to the support and resources needed to achieve their goals. Last year Access students were 70% more likely to avoid court referral for truancy than their peers and on average attended 16 more school days. When we asked the students in our Truancy Prevention Program why they were missing school, their most common responses were:



3259 Prospect Street, NW Washington, DC 20007| 202-652-0287 |
accessyouthinc.org
 
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