Named after the African Proverb “it takes a village to raise a child,” the Village Program, established in 2009, provides out-of-school youth ages 16-21 with GED preparation and wrap-around case management services. The Village is an effective and innovative approach to ensuring that youth who were not successful in the traditional school system, for whatever reason, receive the individualized support they need to receive their GED and pursue post-graduate opportunities.
Village participants receive engaging classroom instruction, in a welcoming and supportive environment for 15 hours per week. The curriculum includes a combination of GED preparation; job readiness; and life skills. In addition to the classroom component of the Village, students also receive support from a full-time Social Worker and a full-time Youth Advocate/Mentor who provide wrap-around supportive services to youth in their homes and the community.
Students from the Village Program continue to make academic advances. From August 2009 to July 2010, every Village student showed improvement in at least one academic area, with 51 percent showing measurable improvement in at least two educational areas. During the same period, 30 percent of Village youth received their GEDs, well above the national average.
YEP recently doubled the Village Program and now has the capacity to serve 120 youth per year.
New foundation support from the Open Society Foundations (OFS) and the Tides Foundation doubled the capacity of our highly effective Village program during 2011-2012.