Issue: Education (Neighborhood Assist)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Year Funded: 2013
Organization: Baton Rouge Youth Coalition (BRYC)
To develop workforce training and leadership opportunities for motivated, under-resourced teens.
Our city’s underperforming public schools are working so hard not to fail they are inept at helping their most promising students succeed. Most students in Baton Rouge’s public high schools want to attend college, but fewer than half will. And unfortunately, getting into college will be the easy part; graduating is a different challenge. According to Blue Engine, only 15% of low-income, minority students who enroll in a four-year college and graduate within 6 years. BRYC specifically targets those students who have the passion and ability to succeed in college, but who come from the families least versed in the college process or able to support a motivated student in college. We connect those students to high-impact, real-life opportunities to develop their skills and leverage professional networks. In doing so, we fulfill a vital need: bridging the resource gap that divides our city and training young people with the skills needed to succeed in a diverse and competitive society. We aim to level the playing field for motivated, under-resourced youth. We work to ensure students’ successes result from factors they can control—e.g. ingenuity and hard work—and not factors they cannot, like family education level or zip code. BRYC will help Fellows develop powerful self-awareness, and train them to leverage their talents for positive, meaningful, and sustainable future gain. This project will be the first of its kind in our region, but are well positioned to build on our existing relationships and make it systemic. By creating access to real-life professional and leadership opportunities, and training Fellows in the soft and hard skills needed for success in the workforce, Fellows will be able to transcend their schools’ limiting environs and hone their passions. This project will make an enduring impact in our Fellows’ lives, and also transform our city’s landscape to become increasingly responsive and adaptive to the talents and ingenuity of its youth.