YouthCharge Participants Identify Community Needs

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Race/Equity A Board

Racial Equity and Justice for the Black & African American Communities

The Race/Equity A Board selected this issue because recent events throughout the United States, including in Colorado, have exhibited racial and ethnic injustices, particularly against the black and African American communities. Recent examples of police brutality have led to growing unrest and desire for change. The Black Lives Matter movement gained global attention with between 15 and 26 million participants, making it the largest movement in modern US history. Elijah McClain’s murder in Aurora, CO has brought to light the fact that racial inequities happen everywhere, even within our own communities.

Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Education

It’s easy to assume a person’s underperformance might be because of their intelligence, culture, or a lack of effort. However, it can often be a function of their unequal access to key education resources. According to EdBuild, government funding to schools in the non-white sector is $23 billion lower than funding to majority white schools, causing unequal distribution of resources and skilled teachers. Students may be forced to sacrifice their educational success simply because they cannot afford expensive study materials. Students of different ethnicities and races may also face discrimination from their teachers and classmates because of the way that they look and their beliefs. This in turn can deeply affect their mental health and cause them to underperform or feel discouraged.

You can donate to the Race/Equity A Board here.

Race/Equity B Board

Educational Equity

Lack of access to quality education can significantly hinder student outcomes. Matriculation into college or university, as well as career-prospects, seriously dwindle as a result of educational inequity. Further, the resources students are given in middle/high-school have a large impact on the tools they have to succeed in the future.

Health Disparities

Limited access to health care is an ongoing issue that impacts students directly or indirectly. We cannot expect kids to go to school if they or a loved one are in need of health care but are unable to receive it. In addition, lack of health care can negatively impact a student’s quality of life.

Mass Incarceration

This issue is important because felony imprisonment is often a result of issues such as racial of issues such as racial profiling or the school-to-prison pipeline and can hinder the ability for youth to feel as if they belong to today’s rapidly-evolving society. Imprisonment also prevents people from finding adequate jobs and housing upon release.

Mental Health

Mental health significantly impacts an individual’s daily life and plays a role in how they perform academically or how they interact with other people. In additional, mental health can exacerbate our other issue areas.

You can donate to the Race/Equity B Board here.

Education Board

Tech Equitability

Over 65,000 students in the US do not have internet access at home, and only 46% of eighth grade students scored at or above proficiency for computer skills. Community members in Colorado have highlighted a serious tech equitability gap for Colorado middle and high school students. During the pandemic, this issue has been exacerbated through the necessity of personal devices and high speed internet access.

Quality of Education During the Pandemic

Pre-existing achievement gaps are prevalent in Colorado’s education system for students. Low-income, Black, and Hispanic students face 10-12 months of missed learning time in distance learning compared to a 6 month loss for their white and/or higher income peers. Students from lower socioeconomic households face barriers to a quality education that their peers from higher socioeconomic households do not, and these barriers are exacerbated by the unique challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Access to Support Outside of School

Colorado students’ much-needed access to support during this time is very inequitable. The current national average of student to counselor ratio is 430-1, making it difficult for in-school counselors to provide quality emotional and academic support to all their students. We want to support organizations that provide emotional and/or academic support to students outside of school.

You can donate to the Education Board here.

Mental Health Board

Increase Accessible Transportation for Mental Health Services

Many teens have issues accessing transportation to mental health providers, causing them to miss out on needed services. Our board personally knows a lot of people that don’t want their parents to find out that they are struggling with their mental health, so they have to find other forms of transportation. Some mental health services are far from teens’ homes and hard to get to. It’s a problem that needs more awareness and funding in order for teens to get the help they need.

Increase Access to Mental Health Services for LGBTQ+ Youth

Many people in the LGBTQ+ community have mental health struggles from facing negative stereotypes, shame, discrimination, fear, and/or traumatic events. Because of this, it can be a struggle for members of the LGBTQ+ community to accept or let others know this crucial aspect of their identity. LGBTQ+ youth are an an even greater risk for poor mental health because of the added challenges of going through adolescence and young adulthood.

Increase Mental Health Services in Middle and High Schools

Students often do not feel comfortable communicating their issues and/or feeling vulnerable with their school counselors. Furthermore, counselors don’t have the capacity to fully help students because of the high rates of depression and suicide in Colorado.

You can donate to the Mental Health Board here.

Immigrants/Refugees Board

Support for Dreamers (DACA Recipients)

The Immigrants/Refugees Board chose this need because we want to make sure that Dreamers aren’t deported from the United States and are able to gain permanent status. The majority of these diverse, hardworking individuals – living out the American Dream – have resided in the US nearly all of their lives. It’s important for Dreamers to have a sense of recognition and acceptance and not feel ostracized because they weren’t born within the borders of United States. Dreamers should know that they are valued and have a place here, and we need to make sure that this isn’t stripped from them

Support during the legal immigration process

The US immigration process is lengthy and complicated, and it hinders many people from obtaining lawful status. This process can be intimidating to many attempting to immigrate to the United States, so it is important to raise awareness about immigration and immigration policy. Immigrants bring diversity to America and are the backbone of the American economy, so it’s important that we help people through the immigration process.

Resources for Undocumented Immigrants and Refugees

The United States fails to provide resources to undocumented immigrants and refugees, and it is very important to ensure that everyone’s basic needs are being met regardless of legal status. Undocumented immigrants already have so much on their plates – from legal issues to personal struggles – and they should not have to worry about having access to basic needs and resources for their wellbeing.

You can donate to the Immigrants/Refugees Board here.

Alyssa HornyakYouthCharge Participants Identify Community Needs