Young Leaders Society sets ambitious goal: bring FULL-TIME coordination to middle schools

Today, we’re proud to announce an ambitious goal for the Young Leaders Society: we will raise $180K by June 2015 to fully fund full-time coordinators at Mendez, Webb and Decker Middle Schools. 

[Tweet “Big goal for @uwatx #atxyoungleaders: bring full-time coordination to low-income middle schools!”]

Last year, our group of young professionals from across the Austin community raised $126K to support middle school services – and this year, we’re raising the bar. By funding this specific service, we can make sure students are connecting to the help they need. 

As Kat Pfannenstiel, strategic advisor for Target Graduation and YLS member, said, “Investing in a campus coordinator means that more children at-risk for school dropout and school failure can be identified and linked with supports. These supports have led to greater sense of school community and positive, long-term effects for middle school students.”

The YLS Challenge is simple:

Young professionals challenge 

YLSers will grow a successful program by funding full-time coordination

Since UWATX launched Middle School Matters in 2011, we’ve seen the difference that coordinating services can make: 

Young professionals - coordination graphic 

Before, many nonprofits were working to help students at Mendez, Webb and Decker Middle Schools, but they were working by themselves. With our support, nonprofits and schools are now working together in an organized way. 

To date, we’ve coordinated 9,000 hours of service for nearly 5,000 middle school students. 

But even with this success, we’ve only been able to provide part-time coordination services at each of the three middle schools. Helping 20+ nonprofits and 240+ school staff manage the needs of so many students is a full-time job – and this challenge will make that possible. 


Coordinators help students get the help they need, allow schools & nonprofits to use resources effectively 

If you think back to middle school, you’ll remember what a confusing and difficult time it was, and it’s even harder for low-income students who often deal with additional issues like moving frequently, not having a stable home life at times or dealing with financial difficulties. Most students don’t know how to handle these challenges – and why should they? They’re in middle school. 

That’s where nonprofits and schools come in: together, we can provide the support that students need like mentoring, tutoring, after school and summer programs, and more. The challenge on our end is to identify what students needs and get them connected to that help, which is where coordination comes in. 

By coordinating services, UWATX takes the pressure off of teachers to be social workers – coordinators assess student needs, route them to the right service and make sure they are receiving all of the help they need, because often students face multiple challenges. 

And there’s more: by serving as a hub for students, nonprofit and school staff, coordinators can also aggregate data across programs and advocate for the needs of the student body as a whole. This critical link means services become more efficient and serve students more effectively. 

Be part of bringing full-time coordination to Mendez, Webb and Decker Middle Schools for next school year

“YLS has grown the philanthropic spirit that already flows in Austin. This year, we will expand that effort and increase our philanthropic footprint across the community.”

– Frances Jordan, YLS Fundraising Chair

As UWATX raises money this year, all funds from YLSers will go towards this challenge – from Employee Giving Campaigns, to website donations and one-off gifts. 

To be a member of YLS, individuals under the age of 40 have to give or raise $1,000 annually.

In February, YLSers will run peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns to raise part of their donation or go above-and-beyond to meet our community goal and make this a reality for the students at Mendez, Webb and Decker. 

Get us started – make a gift today and select YLS from the Giving Societies menu to be part of making Austin greater for middle school students

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