How might we inspire a group of at-risk youth in Caldwell to consider going on to college?
In 2012, the Caldwell School District had some of the lowest graduation and college going rates in the state. To turn those stats around, the District, in partnership with the Caldwell YMCA, United Way of Treasure Valley and the J. A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation developed the P16 program to increase the number of students who go on to post secondary education.
The Caldwell Freshman Academy, a school for at-risk freshman transitioning into high school, was a key player in the P16 strategy. With this understanding, One Stone developed “Reach,” a project designed to challenge Academy students to reach for high goals and expectations—attending postsecondary education, serving others and building community. Together with One Stone team members, the students walked through these calls to action through interactive exercises that included prototyping the ideal college and painting murals illustrating literary quotes. At the end of the event, students wrote letters to their future selves about their dreams and ambitions, and sealed them in a time capsule to be opened upon the brink of them: graduation, 2015.
The Caldwell Freshman Academy students received valuable advice and encouragement to consider post-secondary education from their peers. For many of them, the peer-to-peer encouragement was the first time college sounded like a goal they could, and should, Reach for.