It can be tough for some young people growing up in Wake County. You might be struggling to graduate, or you might just be the one in five high school students who is a victim of bullying. You might even feel hopeless and be thinking about suicide.
Everyone agrees we should be there for our kids, but how do we make sure that all youth thrive in our community?
That’s our goal at Youth Thrive – to bring together all the people and organizations in Wake County that serve our youth, and help them to help our young people.
Earlier this year, we convened over 100 community members from 40 organizations to create the Wake County Strategic Planning Blueprint – A Guide for Collective Impact for Wake County Youth that will guide how we work together for the benefit of our young people. We identified some 100 strategies – there’s lots of need in our community – but it also became clear that we’d have to focus, or it would be hard to make a difference.
So at our October “Call to Action” day, we took the next step, and are committed to make a difference in two key areas: 1) youth educational success, and 2) emotional well-being to prevent bullying and youth suicide.
Our community, government, and youth-serving organizations are prepared to stand up for our young people by working together to ensure our youth develop into successful adults.
Our goals are to ensure that:
- 95% of third grade students read on grade level
- 95% of students graduate high school ready for college and career
- Youth bullying & suicides are eliminated
How are we going to do that? Here are our “High Five” action items:
- Collect and share data on youth programs and outcomes.
- Train staff in youth organizations on suicide prevention and network together.
- Participate in a local Bullying Prevention Campaign by providing parents and youth with information on bullying, and appropriate social-emotional responses.
- Provide access to books for students, promote students choosing books of interest to encourage the love of reading and encourage 20 minutes of daily reading.
- Promote access to college by working to ensure that by 9th grade, all students have the opportunity to visit at least one college.
Yes, these are big challenges. We need everyone, working together, to make our “High Five” actions successful. We need you, too. Join one of our action teams on educational success, emotional well-being, or data. Work with one of our organizations that serve youth in our community.
Together, by working toward a shared agenda, and by engaging in mutually reinforcing activities toward our goals, we can help ensure that all youth thrive.