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CU's Public Achievement Program inspires youth

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By NewsTeam Boulde... - Posted on 19 April 2011

The globally recognized Public Achievement Program gives CU undergrads the opportunity to introduce civic engagement to local high school and middle school students.

A group of middle schoolers or high schoolers are paired up with two CU undergrads who act as coaches. Each coach acts as a mentor and facilitator for the year long project. The students tap into their personal interests and pick a social issue that they would like to address. With the help of the coaches, the students plan, execute, and implement their own community project.

"A lot of the students have been told that they're not going to be able to achieve or they're not going to be able to graduate from high school, so I think students get an understanding that they can," said PA Teaching Assistant Erin Ulrich, "And there's these people here telling them, 'You can, and look what you did. There's this big project that you created.' So keep going and keep working hard because you can achieve your goals."

In conjunction with the coaches helping out at Centaurus High School and the North Boulder Iris Community Center, CU students are enrolled in an INVST community studies course that hopes to combine social change, education and democracy.

"Young people who participate in Public Achievement really start realizing they have the opportunity to serve as change agents and not just recipients of services," said PA Director Elaina Verveer.

Some of the previous projects that Public Achievement students have included: Teen pregnancy workshops, PSAs about teen depression and substance abuse, murals and organizing major Lafayette events like the Martin Luther King March for Peace and the Chezar Chavez march among other service projects.