A year ago, we relaunched the Young Leaders Society with a few big changes – an increased focus on volunteerism, a strong connection to UWATX’s Target Graduation program and the opportunity to give or raise $1,000 per year to make Austin greater. Today, YLS members are kicking off the YLS Virtual Giveathon to help keep students on the path to graduation.
Since then, YLS members have planted trees, done campus clean ups, chaperoned dances and supported student volunteer leaders – and we enjoyed a lot of football. We’ve also worked with the students at Decker Middle School to advocate – and the state awarded $1.5 million to build them a sidewalk!
All of that has led up to this two-week period where we start truly advocating for the students we’ve worked alongside – in their own words, a lack of funds is often what keeps them from accomplishing all that they want to.
I’m sure you can remember how hard (and let’s be honest, so very, VERY awkward) middle school can be. And for many of us, that was without the added challenges poverty brings.
I’ve volunteered directly on the three middle school campuses we support (Decker, Mendez and Webb) and alongside the students UWATX empowers to make change in their communities and seen the impact of our work directly. Seeing the impact UWATX’s work makes in these students’ lives makes it easy for me to ask for support and help other YLSers make their requests as well.
In the last few weeks, we’ve gotten an additional boost for our efforts: Two generous donors have put up a $60,000 challenge fund for YLS! That means the first 60 people to meet their $1000 give and/or raise goal will trigger ANOTHER $1000 towards Target Graduation!
In the words of Webb Middle School Assistant Principal, Valerie Torres-Solis, what your investments give her students is hope: hope in their futures. (I’ve had the pleasure of both getting to know Valerie and seeing her speak many times since I joined UWATX. On more than one occasion she has moved me to tears).
The Virtual Giveathon runs from today through April 4, and we’ll be posting updates along the way. Your gift through the Virtual Giveathon is an investment in the future success of at-risk middle school students.