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Kids High-Fived for Commitment to College

Novato Youth Center celebrates success of a first-year program that has turned some middle schoolers into academic standouts.

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.

janna nikkola May 05, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I hope that college will be within the reach of these young students by the time they graduate from high school. With the UCs and CA State Colleges continuing to raise tuition costs, I'm afraid a college education will be beyong many of these young students. When my daughter graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1988, the 4-year cost of her education including room and board was about $30,000. When my nephew attended UCSB six years later, it cost $100,000. A friend's daughter is now attending UC Davis, which is costing $35,000 a year, or $140,000 for the 4 years. Our country has already fallen behind most other industrialized countries and the cost of education if the primary reason. Math and Science majors are sorely needed in the Silicon Valley, and high tech recruiters can't find enough to hire in the US, so continue to hire qualified candidates from India and China to fill the gap. Beryl Buck's will specifically stated she wanted her vast fortune to be used for non-profit, charitable, religious and educational purposes in Marin County. Of the $56 million in grants made by the San Francisco Foundation in 2011, $13,876,913 was for education, mostly to support K-12 programs and nothing for college scholarships. It's unfortunate that funding college scholarships is not a higher priority. With this vast fortune available, Marin County could be the the most highly educated county in the country if money were directed toward college scholarships.

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