SCCF 2020-2021 GRANT RECIPIENTS

ARIZONA FRIENDS OF FOSTER CHILDREN FOUNDATION (4TH YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

The mission of AFFCF is to promote self-esteem and enrich the lives of AZ children in foster care by funding social, athletic, and educational activities and events that provide them with quality experiences while they live through very difficult circumstances. AFFCF serves children from infancy to age 21.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE

The program reaches children who are at least one grade level behind in school. An application is submitted and approved, and money is awarded for individual tutoring at discounted rates. Tutoring is done one on one in the foster home. Due to the Covid pandemic, there has been in increase in tutoring requests. AFFCF is expanding tutoring awards to $400 per month for 8-10 sessions (from their $500 for 3-month limit). State funding provided to caregivers of children in foster care is used to provide basic living expenses; there is no state funding for the educational services that so many children in foster care need.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

Monetary awards are strictly monitored by a committee of Board members who review all requests they receive. The program is audited each year to make sure all awards are accounted for.

  • 75% of children will demonstrate improvement in academic performance
  • 80% of children demonstrate increased self-esteem
  • 80% of children will demonstrate improvement in behavior

WEBSITE

AVIVA CHILDREN’S SERVICES (1ST YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

The goal of Aviva Children’s Services is family stabilization. They work with families to create healthy environments in which children flourish, leading to greater family stability, wellness and academic success, and preventing future trauma and homelessness.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: AVIVA FAMILY STABILIZATION PROGRAM

The Family Stabilization Program focuses on the needs of children in the foster care system. It provides children with food, shelter and security in traumatic situations, so they can achieve educational success and experience a positive impact on their life and development. Within 72 hours of being removed from a home, the Aviva Behavioral Rapid Response team visits the new home. They provide a variety of services for the child. Aviva’s Resource Program provides needed items to children, caregivers and DCS workers, all providing the immediate stability a child needs in an emergency situation.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

The program is constantly evolving to meet the needs of children and families in the foster care system. The changing needs are met through:

  • Internal evaluation procedures
  • Review of behavioral health case notes
  • Participant satisfaction surveys
  • Audits by government contracts

WEBSITE

BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF TUCSON (10TH YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

The mission of Big Brothers/Big Sisters is to create and support one to one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth so that all youth achieve their full potential. Of the young people served in 2020, 70% lived in a single parent home, 28% had an incarcerated parent and 75% came from low-income homes.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: TRADITIONAL “BIG-LITTLE” YOUTH MENTORING PROGRAM

Once matched, the Bigs and Littles spend 2-3 hours at least 2 times a month at outings designed especially with the kids in mind. Bigs are encouraged to offer experiences Littles are not otherwise exposed to. Bigs offer opportunities such as free or low cost educational outings to local museums, parks, walk in nature and other experiences where a Little can begin to trust in their Big. BBBST also organizes and hosts group outings each month for these Bigs and Littles. BBBSSA has pivoted its mentoring program to meet the demands of the current virtual world. They are offering their curriculum in a virtual setting, offering virtual activities for Big-Little matches.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

BBBST evaluates services and impact using the Youth Outcome Survey. Youth are evaluated in seven indicator areas, and the following percentage of youth either met or exceeded their respective goals in each measure, as follows:

  • Scholastic Competency 66%
  • Educational Expectations 70%
  • Grades 69%
  • Social Acceptance 59%
  • Parental Trust 81%
  • Risk Avoidance 82%
  • Special Adult Relationship 97%

WEBSITE

BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF TUCSON (2ND YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

The mission of BGCT is to provide young people in the community, especially those who are most in need, with a clear path to reach their full potential and pursue their dreams. Clubhouses are strategically nestled in at-risk neighborhoods and aim to target youth (ages 7-17) who need mentoring.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: ALL-DAY DISTANCE LEARNING + ACADEMIC SUPPORT

Beginning in August of 2020, BGCT transitioned their clubhouses from after school centers to full day centers (8:00am-6:00pm). Clubhouses have transformed into “distance learning centers” with staff available to students for assistance with homework, keeping them on task with their assignments, and providing one on one assistance when needed. Staff have also been trained to assist youth with adapting to virtual schooling and social isolation.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

No baseline metrics are available for this first year of distance learning support. There are many variables and priorities shift from week to week. BGCT does have pre-existing mechanisms in place to track each student’s progress. This year, BGCT expects to be able to track:

  • Total number of students participating in in-person programming
  • Qualitative data about their experience receiving educational support in the clubhouse
  • Feedback from the student’s parents
  • Possibly quantify their academic progress through GPA’s, attendance, and/or promotion to the next grade level

WEBSITE

CASA DE LOS NINOS (2ND YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

Casa de los Ninos offers services that have been strategically chosen to support at-risk, low-income families of all ages, races and genders every step of the way – by providing child abuse prevention programs, assisting families when crises arise, and offering treatment through therapeutic services.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: KELLY EARLY EDUCATION CENTER

The Kelly Early Education Center provides high quality early education to 100 pre-school aged children to promote school readiness, to ensure that students are on track developmentally, and to put them on the path to a positive future overall. 80% of households attending the Early Education Center use DES subsidies. The EEC has dedicated a specific focus to families who live in poverty whose children may exhibit disruptive or challenging behaviors that can lead to expulsion from other early education programs.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

The Kelly Early Education Center uses the Ages and Stages Questionnaires, which are evidence and research-based questionnaires that access the social-emotional and developmental well-being of each child and can help identify delays, disorders, or issues that need to be addressed. These questionnaires are completed every six months to track progress and establish a consistent baseline for behavior.

WEBSITE

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF TUCSON (1ST YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

The Children’s Museum is a trusted resource for quality kindergarten readiness and early childhood education experiences. Their mission is to provide a fun, play-based, interactive, hands-on learning experience for children and their families.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: BRAIN BOXES AND STEM SATURDAYS ENGAGEMENT

The museum’s outreach programming has traditionally focused on in-person experiences at schools, libraries and community events. The pandemic necessitated a rapid pivot to an outreach model presented in a virtual and socially distant format. The museum education team has shifted to conducting its STEM, arts, wellness and literacy programming through video recordings. The Brain Box experiment books and activities include a wide variety of arts and science projects that are presented in both English and Spanish, which are suitable for children ages 2-12. The accompanying free STEM Saturdays virtual activities, presented online weekly, are accessible to a wider audience and are intentionally designed to allow families to participate with common, low-cost household items. SCCF funding will allow CMT to supply 425 early childhood Brain Box activity kits to five Parent As Teachers groups and to provide accompanying STEM Saturdays highlighting the activities in the Brain Box kits.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

Children’s Museum evaluation of the Brain Box program will use an outcome-based evaluation model to measure the following:

  • Number of Brain Boxes distributed
  • Tracking participant’s zip code data
  • Feedback of survey results
  • Expanded collaborative capacity of CMT and community partners
  • Program sustainability

WEBSITE

EARN TO LEARN (7TH YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

The mission of Earn to Learn is to empower low to moderate income students to graduate college debt free and be workforce ready. Earn to Learn partners with the University of Arizona and Pima County Community College along with philanthropic donors to help students earn a college degree.

FOCUS OF THE 2020 GRANT: EARN TO LEARN

Earn to Learn is partnering with AmeriCorps and Earn to Learn college students to place students in local schools to work with low-income students. The “Near Peer” Intervention model will be used for mentoring. AmeriCorps mentors will meet in partner schools 1-2 hours a week to provide pre-college and college students with one-on-one mentoring, counseling and individual guidance on college and workforce preparation. AmeriCorps members will also provide weekly skills development workshops in the areas of financial literacy and college preparation including for the ACT/SAT, completion of college applications and applying for scholarships.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

  • Changes in knowledge, skill, attitude and behavior as it relates to higher education
  • Increased high school persistence and graduation rates among economically disadvantaged, first generation and ethnically diverse high school students
  • Increased knowledge regarding preparation for post – secondary education
  • Increased individual savings and contributions to their education
  • Increased knowledge about the college application and financial aid process
  • Increased post – secondary education for Arizona youth

WEBSITE

EL GRUPO YOUTH CYCLING (9TH YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

El Grupo is a youth development organization with a mission to empower youth through bicycles and fosters values that support youth both on and off the bike.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: EL GRUPO YOUTH CYCLING

The El Grupo cycling program focuses on helping youth translate bike skills into life skills by providing meaningful structure and harmony that integrates practices, academic support and the opportunity for community activities. This structure helps youth get the support they need to succeed on their own and in the future. El Grupo works diligently on continuing a 100% high school graduation rate and 90% post-high school education as well as a 100% report from youth on having greater self-confidence and social skills.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

  • 100% high school graduation rate
  • Over 90% of alumni pursuing post-high school education
  • 100% of alumni have the skill to address life challenges
  • 100% of alumni report setting personal goals
  • 90% of alumni report resiliency
  • 90% feel that they are successful

WEBSITE

HIGHER GROUND (11TH YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

The mission of Higher Ground is to empower one life at a time to reach, transform and elevate the community through love and building character. Higher Ground specializes in providing comprehensive support to critically at-risk students suffering from the effects of childhood trauma and poverty.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: FAMILY STABILIZATION AND SUPPORT

The goal of the Family Stabilization and Support program is to offer services to keep families functioning after destabilizing events or crises, ensuring that children are safe, thriving and continuing to stay in school. Higher Ground applies strict criteria to families in need of short-term financial support to help them stabilize after an emergency. The Family Stabilization program also offers the services of the Family Engagement Team (FET). The FET helps the family in crisis as needed: providing translation in the work place, attending parent teacher conferences at school or helping with placing students in special educational programs as needed.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

The primary measurable outcome of Higher Ground is to reduce student absenteeism in our community school sites below 10%. Students and families participate in activities that teach social-emotional learning, one-on-one behavioral coaching and clinical social work. Activities are guided by six core goals:

  • Students improve their grit/resilience skills
  • Students improve their self-control skills
  • Students improve their physical health
  • Students improve their emotional coping skills
  • Students build social skills
  • Students strengthen their academic ability and critical thinking skills

WEBSITE

IMAGO DEI MIDDLE SCHOOL (9TH YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

The mission of Imago Dei Middle School is to break cycles of poverty through education, by giving children impacted by poverty in Tucson a quality, private school education during the critical middle school years. They serve up to 80 Tucson boys and girls in grades 5-8 from low-income families, without regard to race, faith or perceived academic potential.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: IDMS GRADUATE SUPPORT PROGRAM

IDMS is expanding their Family Support Program this year to support a large number of families in crisis due to the Covid Pandemic. IDMS is providing support to families of their students both as humanitarians and as an educational necessity. Hungry, stressed-out and traumatized children cannot learn, grow and progress. 2021 has posed bigger concerns for the families in the IDMS community. The Family Support Program helps these families bridge the gaps they are experiencing from job losses and evictions. When the family is stable, the student is stable.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

IDMS will track cases handled and funds expended, and document outcomes. Success of this program requires families to have a minimum level of economic security, therefore giving the student some stability in school.

WEBSITE

INTERFAITH COMMUNITY SERVICES (1ST YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

ICS is a social service organization whose mission is to help people achieve stable, healthy, and independent lives. ICS programs and services meet essential needs for some of the most vulnerable in our community. They provide children of low-income families the opportunity to gain access to educational supports and enrichment activities that would otherwise be unattainable.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: YOUTH ENRICHMENT SERVICES PROGRAM (YES)

ICS is seeking funding to provide children of very low-income ICS parents with access to academic tutoring, technology, after school enrichment programs and music lessons to help students improve academically so they are on track for graduation. Because so many underrepresented children have fallen behind academically due to the pandemic crisis, ICS is taking a pro-active approach through the YES program to help children recover academically and to not fall farther behind. Parents and caregivers apply for support from the YES program, which will then provide services for tutoring, technology, music lessons or extracurricular activities.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

ICS utilizes the Self-Sufficiency Matrix to gauge a child’s involvement in academic support activities. The matrix is utilized as an annual pre and post assessment. ICS is also working with Social Venture Partners to develop an assessment tool that will measure increased school attendance, participation and overall academic success.

WEBSITE

JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT (9TH YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

JA of Arizona’s mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. They do this by giving students the knowledge and skills they need to manage their money, plan for their future and make smart academic, career and economic choices. SCCF funding for 2020 enabled JA to switch to virtual learning due to Covid, enabling them to reach 300 students from Pueblo High School who were no longer in school. JA created virtual lessons for all of their programs. In the spring, juniors and seniors participated in JA You’re Hired – a 5-week program that teaches career readiness skills such as resumes, interviewing, workplace communication and networking.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: CAREER READINESS AND FINANCIAL LITERACY EDUCATION FOR PUEBLO HS STUDENTS

The grant request is to support two programs: JA Inspire Program for 300 students and JA Stock Market Challenge for 100 students. The JA Inspire Program includes a series of classroom lessons that give students hands on experience writing resumes, practice interviewing, networking and communicating in the workplace. The culmination of this program is the virtual JA Inspire Career Exploration event with over 100 Arizona companies hosting virtual booths with videos, interactive activities and live current employees connecting with students. The JA Stock Market Challenge educates high school students about investing and trading in the stock market in a hands-on, high tech simulation of the floor of the NYSE. This program culminates with the JA Stock Market Challenge virtual event – a live simulation in which teams of students from AZ compete to build and manage a portfolio. Pueblo High School students came in third place in 2020.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

JA’s primary objective at Pueblo High School is to prepare students for the workforce while motivating them to graduate from high school, minimize dropout rates and maximize lifelong financial security.

  • 85% of participating students will demonstrate increased knowledge of work readiness skills and/or financial literacy
  • 85% of teacher, volunteer and student evaluations will indicate the programming is effective
  • 95% of participating students will graduate high school

WEBSITE

LITERACY CONNECTS (9TH YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

The programs at Literacy Connects coach children in reading so they don’t fall behind in school. Other programs teach parents the importance of reading to their children, help young people experience the power of words and ideas through the arts and put books in the hands of people who need them. SCCF funding for 2020 helped 1275 students in 35 elementary schools improve their reading skills and attitudes about reading. When the schools closed due to the pandemic, 19,000 free books were distributed for children to take home.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: READING SEED CHILDREN LITERACY PROGRAM

The program is for kindergarten through fifth grade students. Volunteer reading coaches are recruited and trained to work one to one with students at high need schools who are reading below grade level. Students are referred by their classroom teachers to receive this intensive, personalized literacy coaching with a trained and caring volunteer who is dedicated to their success. The primary costs of the program are staff time for training, support and ongoing professional development, background checks and fingerprinting and supplies for coaches. The Reading Seed program improves children’s reading skill, but also positively changes important attitudes that have a profound effect on children’s literacy. The Reading Seed program has switched from an in person reading session in the schools, to a virtual model. Volunteer coaches are reading with the students on the computer. The second model being developed is Reading Seed Families. This program runs similar to the programming done by volunteers, however, training is given to parents and caregivers, so they may better facilitate reading in the home.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

The University of Arizona Department of Education conducted a study of the Reading Seed Program and found 87% of children progressed by at least one reading level in only two months. Reading Seed students experience 30% greater gains in assessed literacy skills than the general student population. Reading Seed Families is evaluated through participant surveys assessing the effect of the workshop on family literacy habits.

WEBSITE

MAKE WAY FOR BOOKS (13TH YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

MWFB’s mission is to promote early literacy in limited resource areas of southern Arizona by providing children (birth-5 years) with an opportunity to fall in love with books and reading. The vision is that all children will enter school with the early literacy skills necessary to be successful. The 2020 SCCF funds supported MWFB in their efforts to meet the early literacy and learning needs of children in a digital space due to the pandemic. They offered an online story hour and reached 800 families with joyful, high quality, bilingual programming. SCCF funding also enabled MWFB to distribute 700 books for families to use at home.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: VIRTUAL STORY SCHOOL

Make Way for Books launched the Virtual Story School in the fall of 2020. The innovative series focuses on early literacy, language and social and emotional skills. The model features a two-generation approach, where children and parents learn together and both gain skills. Through the Virtual Story School platform, families participate in live virtual learning sessions where children are immersed in stories, songs, and literacy activities. Children participating in Virtual Story School receive a backpack filled with school supplies and 20 high quality books that are used throughout the series.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

  • 100% of children will gain access to high quality age appropriate books and resources at home
  • At least 90% of children will gain skills in the areas of emergent literacy and language
  • At least 90% of parents will gain skills, confidence, and tools to support their young children’s emergent literacy and language development
  • At least 90% of parents will share books more effectively to foster their children’s literacy development

WEBSITE

OUR FAMILY SERVICES (10TH YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

The mission of Our Family Services is to eliminate homelessness and strengthen our community. They achieve this by providing stability in times of crisis, linking people to support and resources and supporting social connectedness. Our Family provides a diverse array of programs and services to achieve their mission including services for homeless youth and families. The SCCF 2020 funding, paired with other partners, provided life-changing housing, shelter, and case management for 560 homeless teens last year. This includes 120 runaway, homeless and abused teenagers who found temporary home and safety at the Reunion House shelter. SCCF support has had a major impact on these young people. 83% of the runaway and homeless youth who called Reunion House home, were enrolled in school during their stay and 72% were able to return home or to another safe, permanent living environment when they left the shelter. $200,000 in foundation and corporate funding was lost in 2020 and the shelter costs have increased by $20,000 per month since March 2020.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: HOMELESS YOUTH SERVICES/REUNION CRISIS SHELTER

This program will provide a comprehensive continuum of services that offers homeless teenagers an unbroken path from the streets to long term stability, including street and community outreach, emergency shelter, case management, counseling and support services. Funding will also support Reunion House, which is a 20-bed temporary crisis shelter for children ages 12-17. Housing services are supported by case management, counseling and skills training, each of which work together to prepare young people to achieve their goals and experience healthy adulthood.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

  • 100% of the sheltered teens will have basic food, clothing and health care needs met
  • 85% of teens will be enrolled in school during their stay at Reunion House
  • 80% of teens will transition to safe and stable living arrangements

WEBSITE

SAN MIGUEL HIGH SCHOOL (9TH YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

San Miguel High School exists to create a learning community where students from limited financial means have the opportunity to develop to their full potential, regardless of religious affiliation. At San Miguel, students take a full college preparatory course load while simultaneously holding internships, working in corporations and earning nearly 35% of their school tuition. 2020 SCCF funding supported essential components of the College Counseling Program.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: SAN MIGUEL HIGH SCHOOL’S COLLEGE COUNSELING PROGRAM

The College Counseling Program helps low-income students set post-secondary education goals and then helps them to achieve those goals. Students are aided in completing college applications, organizing college visit trips, filling out financial aid and scholarship forms and researching various college and summer enrichment programs. SCCF funding will be used for the following activities, which prepare students for college admittance and provide training for college counseling staff:

  • Access to Naviance software, used by both students and staff for researching colleges, applying to colleges and applying for scholarships
  • Financial aid nights for Seniors
  • Standardized test preparation and testing
  • Financial assistance with advanced placement testing
  • Provision of emergency funds to assist students with application fees

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

  • Mandatory that every senior student will complete and submit a minimum of 13 college applications, including applications to all 3 in-state public universities and Pima Community College.
  • Collectively the senior class will receive a minimum of 3 college acceptances per student and 100% of graduating seniors will be accepted to college.
  • Every senior student will complete and apply for at least 5 scholarship applications and collectively earn a minimum of $2.5 million in financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships.
  • Every student will attend a minimum of one in-state college visit per year.
  • All counseling staff members will attend a minimum of 2 workshops during the 2020-2021 academic school year.

WEBSITE

SOUTHERN ARIZONA ASSOCIATION FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED (SAAVI) (7TH YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

The mission of SAAVI is to:

  • Create an unduplicated, fearless and acknowledged approach to non-visual skills training in preparation for employment, higher education and everyday living
  • Promote determination, accountability, commitment to success, and self-reliance for blind individuals in their communities
  • Ensure that expectations of our students and ourselves are maintained at a high level
  • Increase the number of blind youths that realize higher education and employment

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: REAL – REACHING EMPOWERMENT THROUGH ACHIEVEMENT AND LEARNING

This funding will support SAAVI’s signature program REAL, which is a highly interactive and participatory program that provides education and hands on experiences for blind children in grades K-12 and their parents/families (200 in total). The ultimate goal of REAL is to increase the number of blind/visually- impaired youth who will go on to post-secondary education and become independent members of society. Through this program, blind children engage in activities to increase their learning potential, independence, and self-esteem. Programming includes Saturday sessions, a family retreat, summer activities and home visits to train not only the students, but their families as well.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

Clients are tracked from kindergarten through high school graduation/post-secondary education until they move into their careers. Success is evaluated by pre and post program surveys, monthly evaluations, staff observations and feedback. Many clients return to SAAVI to teach and mentor other children in the program.

WEBSITE

SOUTHERN ARIZONA RESEARCH, SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING FOUNDATION (SARSEF) (3RD YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

The mission of the SARSEF is to help Arizona children and youth discover critical thinking and problem-solving skills while exploring science, math and engineering. SARSEF is a non-profit based in Tucson that provides outreach and education to eight counties in AZ. 85% of the students served qualify for free and reduced lunch or are low income. Due to the pandemic, SARSEF’S In-School programming immediately altered its delivery of content and began to offer the curriculum through a virtual model. Once the school year began, SARSEF adjusted program delivery based on the restrictions of each district.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: WHAT DO YOU WONDER? STEM – THINKING FOR UNDERREPRESENTED STUDENTS IN AREAS OF POVERTY

SARSEF’S “What Do You Wonder” program will provide workshops at PreK-12 schools in Oro Valley and greater Tucson areas. Students will be engaged through hands-on activities as they take something that they wonder about in this world and use their STEM thinking skills and a scientific process to solve the problem. Locations will be schools and homes if the pandemic requires extended online and virtual instruction within the grant boundaries.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

SARSEF will validate using 81 qualitative and quantitative data points, followed longitudinally.
Short term data:

  • STEM diversity in the school population:
    • 54% female
    • 59% non-white, underrepresented populations
    • 70% from Title I schools
  • STEM thinking: students will demonstrate critical thinking
    in STEM as measured by SARSEF criteria for each grade level
    Long term data:

    • 90% of students completing this project will ask more questions and/or solve more problems
    • 85% of students completing this project will think about a STEM major in college and /or a career in STEM

WEBSITE

STEP: STUDENT EXPEDITION PROGRAM (4TH YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

STEP educates and empowers low-income students with the knowledge, confidence, and leadership skills to successfully transition to college and attain a 4-year degree. STEP began in 2005 providing wilderness leadership expeditions to low-income high school students. Since 2011, STEP has grown and developed into a full-service College Prep Program. 2020 SCCF funding was used to help guide Tucson high school students through the process of preparing for, applying to, and transitioning to college. Once the pandemic started, all programming was done virtually.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: STEP: COLLEGE PREP PROGRAM

STEP’S College-Prep Program gives students from low income and underrepresented communities the tools they need to close Arizona’s postsecondary educational attainment gap. Students enter the program in their sophomore year of high school and receive one-on-one advising throughout their sophomore, junior and senior years of high school. Topics include: high school courses to take to prepare for the rigor of college, time management, presentation skills, resume writing, building a college list, finding a college that is a good fit, components of a strong college application, applying for on-campus summer programs, mastering the college admission interview, and demystifying the financial aid process.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

  • 100% of the students enrolled will graduate from high school
  • 90% of STEP graduates will successfully transition to college
  • 96% of STEP scholars enrolled in college will successfully obtain a college degree

WEBSITE

YOUTH ON THEIR OWN (13TH YEAR)

AGENCY BACKGROUND

YOTO exists to help address barriers and mitigate the impact of homelessness on a student’s education. Operating in 100+ middle and high schools across Pima County, YOTO’s mission is to support the high school graduation and continued success of homeless youth by providing financial assistance, basic human needs and guidance. YOTO serves youth in grade 6-12. 2020 SCCF funding supported 85 YOTO students with $200 stipends in response to the pandemic in May, 2020. These special stipends were issued in order to provide extra basic needed support to homeless students.

FOCUS OF THE 2021 GRANT: YOTO PROGRAM

The program provides accountability-based financial assistance, basic human needs and guidance to Pima County’s homeless students working towards their high school graduation.

  • Financial Assistance: Youth may earn a monthly stipend up to $160 during the nine-month school year by maintaining A’s, B’s or C’s and consistent attendance.
  • Basic Human Needs: YOTO students may obtain material assistance including food, clothing, school supplies and hygiene items weekly at no cost from the YOTO mini-Mall.
  • Guidance: YOTO Program Coordinators and volunteer School Liaisons build trusting, individual relationships with students. They provide ongoing academic support and guidance to homeless youth.

SCCF funding will provide direct student support via monthly stipends, bill assistance, mini-mall material items, transportation assistance, and/or gift cards for approximately 125 YOTO enrolled students. The pandemic has required YOTO to provide most of their services online, as opposed to in person. Requests for help have increased by 41% since the pandemic started.

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES

As of November 2020, YOTO had served 490 students in 67 area schools. Those numbers have decreased due to the pandemic. This reduction is impacting YOTO’s ability to find eligible students currently. YOTO is attempting to get the word out to more students utilizing several different platforms. YOTO is measuring outcomes by monthly online stipend requests. Active YOTO students are exceeding program outcomes.

  • <15% of enrolled YOTO students have dropped out due to non-attendance
  • 82% report passing grades in most of their classes
  • 92% report meeting their school’s monthly attendance requirement

WEBSITE