As we have been explaining the program to youth, it has been such a delight to watch their eyes glow with excitement and optimism. I could not be happier about my new role with FACE, and am looking forward to seeing all of the wonderful things the youth I am working with will achieve.
As a service-minded individual, I have always had a strong desire to help others in any way possible. Last year, as a Student Engagement Advocate at North High School, I served my school community by providing fun incentives, such as concert tickets, to students with good attendance. I spent many hours coaching the Junior Varsity girls’ soccer team, facilitating computer literacy classes for parents, and conducting door knocks for my attendance caseload students. It was an amazing experience that has truly shaped who I am today, prompting me to return to the Denver Public Schools Urban Education Service Corps as a second-year AmeriCorps member.
This year, I am connecting youth in the near and far northeast areas of Denver through a program called the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). This is a new initiative for the Office of Family and Community Engagement (FACE), and it is very exciting to be a part of the inaugural team working towards supporting youth in their education and career choices.
Many of the youth that we serve face a variety of barriers to success in their daily lives. The WIA program is set up to remove some of these barriers, so that the youth we work with can achieve the goals they set for themselves. As an example, if a youth is having transportation issues resulting in missing school or work, we are able to provide them with a free bus pass or gas card. Or, if a youth is interested in the healthcare field, we will assist them in getting into a training program that works with their schedule and, potentially, provide them with a monetary incentive for completing the training program. Additionally, as a program, we are making ourselves available to students during consistent office hours at their schools and near their homes. We are making it our goal to make the services we are providing as accessible and convenient as possible.
Alayna Shaw, AmeriCorps member