OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
We have learned alongside our Community Partners as they have faced challenges, overcome barriers, and achieved extraordinary successes. Find out more about each project and the outcomes below.
Communities In Schools of Central Texas
Communities In Schools is Central Texas’ leading dropout prevention program. Through campus-based programs and special projects, Communities In Schools creates a network of volunteers, social services, businesses and community resources that work together to break down barriers and help students succeed.
The XY-Zone Project supports at-risk young men on their journey into manhood by teaching the core values of respect, responsibility, relationships, role models and reaching out.
Impact Austin’s grant funds the salaries of two full-time caseworkers—one each at two different high school campuses in the Austin Independent School District. The grant also provides funds for related materials, community service projects and field trips for the 50 young men (ages 13 to 18) on each campus who participate in the XY-Zone Project.
By August 2006, Communities In Schools had enrolled 99 young men who received case management services from the XY-Zone program. The staff conducted support groups, worked with youth leaders to design service-learning projects and collaborated with other community organizations. The 99 youths received a combined total of 1,501 hours of individual and group services.
Results were very positive although not all objectives reached the 80% goal:
96% stayed in school
70% improved academic performance
75% improved their behavior at school
69% stopped or reduced at least one risk-taking behavior
81% demonstrated increases in developmental assets
Given that most students who enroll in XY-Zone have significant academic and behavioral needs, Communities In Schools concluded that a more realistic target going forward should be 70% rather than 80%. Building on this experience, CIS enhanced the program curriculum and now contracts individually with participants so that they really commit to making changes.
An interesting observation from follow-up interviews was that participants were significantly more likely to say they would “do things that help my community, like volunteering,” when they had participated in XY-Zone activities, a positive outcome for both the participants and the community.
At the end of the grant period, CIS reported a lesson learned was that staff caseloads needed to be set more manageably so that the youth can get more of the individualized support they need to succeed. CIS also determined they should amplify the power of the “positive fraternity” component of the program. Today this aspect is very prominent.