There is growing evidence of the need of a program that addresses the the lack of opportunities that top performing students coming from low income backgrounds. One of the best ways to do this is to increase high school access. Studies have shown that low-income students in high performing high schools perform better academically. Beyond this, such students also are less likely to engage in risky behavior. Thus, it is evident that an organization such as Leading Youth Through Empowerment is absolutely imperative because it has the potential to change the trajectory of the lives of those who are accepted into the program.
Leading Youth Through Empowerment is a nonprofit organization for middle school youth in Delaware. Our goal is to empower students by providing them with an expanded range of options for where to attend high schools. We will do this by establishing partnerships with high performing schools (independent and parochial). We will also push students to top performing public and charter school programs as well. Schools are willing to partner with us because our students are thoroughly prepared to enter such an academically rigorous environment. Students shall be prepared through extensive training and tutoring so scholars can become accustomed to the increased workload they will face in high school. They will also be exposed to a great deal of test preparation for the standardized tests that they must take to enter many of the programs. Outside of the academic piece, we hope to build student’s sense of self in this program. It is imperative that our students feel confident in entering a new environment and see themselves as future leaders in the community.
The bond that we create with students in our program is not one that deteriorates once a student is accepted into a prestigious institution. As an organization, we understand that leaving students in such an environment with no support has led to students being unable to complete such a challenge. This support will take place through a variety of methods. Through our partnerships, we will receive constant updates on how students are doing in school. In case a student is struggling, we will provide the students with support by either directly working with them or pushing them to work with teachers in their own school. We will also be in continual contact with our students as they will come work with Leading Youth Through Empowerment on a regular basis.
Leading Youth Through Empowerment is especially necessary in Wilmington. The changing climate in Wilmington forces us to look to make strides in education. Pushing students to not only excel but empower themselves has the ability to encourage these students to create change in their own community. LYTE is also necessary because there are no programs similar to it in the city of Wilmington. While there are national programs which emphasize a similar message, these scholars need to see change in their own community.