C4K combines mentoring and technology to prepare youth for brighter futures.
We equip diverse youth with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) skills and a future full of choice. Our participants are in 6th – 12th grade and eligible for free and reduced-price lunches at school. Many live in the neighborhoods near C4K, including Friendship Court.
When a youth (member) is matched with a mentor, they benefit from having a supportive adult in their life who spends quality time with them every week. Our data shows that over time, youth identify areas of interest, and mentors support them to set and achieve their learning goals.
At C4K, mentoring is collaboration, goal-setting, trust, consistency, friendship, curiosity, coaching, listening, advocacy, and fun!
We follow “The Theory of Positive Youth Development,” which views youth as resources to be developed rather than as problems to be managed. We provide members with enriching experiences that broaden their perspectives, improve their socialization, and enhance their skills. We employ this theory through every aspect of our programming. Our members are highly capable and spend many hours every week developing their STEAM skills with the resources we provide: supportive 1:1 and group mentoring, experiential learning, industry-level technology, skill-building workshops, field trips to explore college and career options and a culture of high expectations and support.
Recent youth-led projects include a hover-board, a virtual reality (VR) haunted house, a 3D printed chess set, film sound-effects, robots, programmable drones, and air-powered rockets.
In making these projects, youth develop not only technical skills but the following 21st-century skills:
- Communication: Sharing thoughts, questions, ideas, and solutions.
- Collaboration: Working together to reach a goal- putting talent and smarts to work.
- Critical Thinking: Looking at problems in new ways, linking learning across subjects.
- Creativity: Trying new approaches to get things done equals innovation and invention.
What is our impact?
In our 18-year history, 98% of C4K members graduate high school on time, which is 20% higher than the city-wide average for youth from low-income households. 94% of our high school graduates go on to college. Through our recent Youth Impact Survey, members report increased proficiency in STEAM skills. Responses also indicate that C4K is a place where members feel a meaningful sense of belonging. 100% of C4K members said they felt their mentors accepted them, and 100% felt they could trust their mentors.
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