This past week four AYO youth attended the Community College of Aurora’s YAASPA’s program (Young Aspiring Americans for Social Political Activism), ensuring them a 2 year scholarship after they graduate high school! All four of these youth have been in or are currently a part of our mentor program. AYO staff are so proud of these
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Last week AYO staff took time to bond during our annual team retreat. We spent the day learning how to be more culturally competent of our youth that we work with, touring the Mizel Museum in Denver, and ending the day at the East Side Kosher Deli for lunch, along with some great teambuilding activities and discussion about how to improve AYO over the next year. We are so grateful for each other and all of the youth we serve!
On Wednesday May 25th, Aurora Youth Options celebrated the end of the school year with our Homework Help and Tutoring Program, having both youth and tutors participate in planting a local garden outside of the Hoffman Building. Lots of laughs were heard, memories were shared, and everyone got their hands dirty doing their part to plant in the community garden. AYO has enjoyed watching our Homework Help and tutoring youth and adults develop close relationships over this last school year. Happy summer!
On Tuesday April 19th AYO celebrated all of our amazing volunteers at our Volunteer Recognition Event. We heard speakers from our mentor program, listened to some of the successes of our homework help and tutoring program, and had some amazing food! It was an honor to be able to thank each vounteer indiviudally. What an impact they are making in the lives of our youth! Stay tuned for more pictures to come.
Aurora Youth Options was honored to present at the National Mentoring Summit this past January in Washington D.C. AYO presented with Denver Urban Scholars and Goodwill Industries of Denver to reflect on their collaboration during the Mentor Enhancement Demonstration Project (MEDP). The presentation focused on how to create a framework that supports diverse programmatic structures, provides a platform for open and clear communication, and overall fosters a positive collaboration. There were over 900 participants at the Mentoring Summit, all of whom are committed to the mission of mentoring for today’s youth. Overall the summit was a great success and AYO was honored to be a part of it!
AYO is supporting a new program called TAY (Transition Age Youth). This program was developed to help transition teens and young adults from child and family programs into adult programs. The primary age range for this program is 16-24. TAY has partnered with Aurora Strong Reilience Center (1298 Peoria St.) to offer a drop-in night every Tuesday from 4-7pm; TAY is located in the same building as AYO. The drop-in night provides a safe space for young adults to come and make new friends, participate in one-on-one support, learn healthy living skills, engage in arts/crafts/music/writing/poetry, as well fitness activities such as dancing/yoga/pool/ping-pong, and much more! If you are between 16-24, please come check out a TAY drop-in night! For questions, please call Kristyn Nassif, the TAY coordinator, at 303-923-2918.
In recognition of National Mentoring month, Aurora Youth Options sponsored a mentor Friendraiser Thursday January 21, 2016. The venue was Bar Louie in the Northfield shopping area, and AYO had a great turn out! Guests were treated to delicious food and appetizers, current mentor/mentee matches presented their stories, and guests were also treated to the “Sky is the Limit” song by local rap artist Tyrone Crawford.
On Tuesday December 8th, AYO hosted their second collaborative holiday party with other organizations in the Hoffman building, inviting all of the Aurroa community, as well as our homework help and tutoring program, mentors, mentees, and their families. With over 200 people in attendance, we gave away some awesome raffle prizes, were provided with lots of yummy food for the potluck, and watched as families got the opportunity to take a holiday picture from our photo booth and make crafts for their loved ones. What a great success!
On Saturday, October 3rd, many of AYO's mentors and mentees participated in our annual Extended Event- A Ropes Course Challenge by Choice. Both youth and adults stepped up to the challenges inherent in a high and low ropes course at West Pines Training Center in Wheat Ridge. Everyone had a role to play, whether it was cheerleading, belaying, or climbing, and matches were able to overcome some of their fears, working together to complete different obstacles throughout the day. Everyone left feeling rejuvenated in their relationships with each other, trust built, and confidence lifted.
AYO participated in Aurora's 1st Annual Peace March that was dedicated to promoting peace and community all over the city. Over 15 agencies and community members walked from Aurora Central High School, to Spencer Garrett Park to show their support for the community. The rest of the day was spent at the park where a resource fair was held for families, games were played between youth and members of the Aurora Police Department, and a new level of community was reached with the surrounding neighborhood.