It's not often that you get countywide and local dignitaries and middle school youths in the same place at the same podium, but the had that combination Thursday as it celebrated a successful first year of its newest program, the 1-Up-4 College Middle School Program.
More than 100 parents, youth, community and business members, local leaders and politicians, and NYC board members filled the classroom to share in the excitement of the program’s milestones. Guest speakers included:
* Dr. Thomas Peters, President and CEO of , who praised and encouraged the youth for their hard work and had them stand for a round of applause
* Vicki Romero, the 's director of curriculum and instruction, who acknowledged the Novato Youth Center for forming such a strong partnership with the school district and local schools
* Josh Badillo, a seventh-grade participant in the program, and his father Daniel, who both spoke about the positive difference the program has made in Josh's school and home life
* Jamie Winfrey, a sixth-grade participant, who commented on the new leadership skills she has developed
* Novato Mayor Denise Athas, who commended the Novato Youth Center for its leadership role in creating a model program to be used by other communities
* and Marin County Board Supervisors members Steve Kinsey and Judy Arnold, who praised both the center and the middle school youth in the audience, encouraging them to have big dreams and follow them.
“The 1-Up-4 College Program is a new approach to afterschool and summer programming that is changing the way middle school youth receive academic and social-emotional support,” noted Cheryl Paddack, the center's executive director. “This program helps teens build confidence, engage them in school and build excitement to learn through project based learning, and involves their parents further in their child’s education.”
The showcase helped to educate attendees that college and career readiness can begin at middle school and earlier. The center is extremely grateful to all of the program sponsors who made the program possible this year, with special thanks to the Marin Community Foundation for providing the initial grant.
Generous sponsors of this year’s 1-Up-4 College Program included:
- Presenting Sponsors at $10,000 and Up: County of Marin: Judy Arnold and Steve Kinsey, Kimball Foundation, Marin Community Foundation, Pacific Gas & Electric.
- Advocators ($5,000 and Up): Brayton Purcell LLP, Marin Luxury Cars
- Protectors ($2,500 and Up): Autodesk, Bank of Marin, Comcast, Soroptimist International of Novato, USBankcorp, Wells Fargo Foundation.
- Enrichers ($1,000 and Up): Burr Pilger Mayer Inc., Ghirardo CPA, Hennessy Advisors, Novato Youth Volleyball Association , Suzanne Cross, Westamerica Bank, Whole Foods Market of Novato.
- Nurturers ($500 and Up): Anixter and Oser, Pini Hardware, Sonoma Bank, Paul Mitchell The School Sacramento, Redwood Credit Union.
The Novato Youth Center is a private non-profit organization with the mission to inspire and prepare youth for success in 5 core program areas. In its 36th year of service to the community, the Center serves over 3,800 youth and their families annually. To learn more, visit www.novatoyouthcenter.org.
For a Marin Independent Journal story on this event, click here.