Georgetown Divide, California

The impact of five years of youth development in Georgetown Divide, CA cannot be overstated. In 2007, Georgetown Divide thought the initiative had reached a critical mass as it saw the widespread use of its practices. However, it was only just getting started. There is a cohesiveness and spirit of community that comes through in crisis and celebration.

The people of The Georgetown Divide show their care and compassion for young people through the efforts of numerous community groups and school-based programs. Counseling is available to students through a partnership with New Morning Youth and Family Services. Throughout the school district, classrooms are implementing teaching strategies that meet the learning needs of all students. The Mentors Plus program, offered at one K-8 school and for freshman transitioning to high school, includes model pregnancy prevention curriculum in support groups as well as providing mentors. The Health Educators who deliver this curriculum have been trained in the Youth Development Institute, and the process for curriculum delivery has been carefully designed to incorporate youth development principles.

The first major collaborative organization in the community was The Divide Community Services Network, a grassroots collaborative established to bring a clinic to the community. Current projects include a free children’s book program and the annual Youth Expo. Five years ago, a community collaborative formed using the Forum for Youth Investment community development framework and support. Georgetown Divide Ready by 21 (GDRB21) brings together committed partners who understand and support youth development. Members include school and community leaders, organizations such as the Rotary Club, churches, businesses, key county organizations that support our youth, parents and youth. Achievements for GDRB2 include toddler literacy programs, a local resource guide for birth-5, funding for a mental health provider for birth-5, youth trained as evaluators, increased after-school programming, program enhancements to ease the transition to freshman year, and use of a process to improve youth program quality in schools and organizations.

In 2009, the Black Oak Mine Unified School District was awarded a three-year CalServe service-learning grant, with the option to apply for an additional three years. More than 20 teachers were trained the first year, along with several community partners, on how to do service learning projects using the best practices model developed by the National Youth Leadership Council. Through this program, a 6th grade class conducted a survey that revealed that students' biggest concerns were bullying during recess and that recess wasn't fun enough. The students decided that structured activities at recess could make a difference and created several activity stations. Bullying significantly decreased, referrals to the office during recess have declined and teachers have said that there has been a complete change in the climate of the school, both inside and outside the classroom. A 9th grade class conducted a community needs survey that revealed that a group of pregnant women recovering from drug addiction at a local treatment center were in need of supplies for their babies and young children. The youth launched a campaign to collect clothing, equipment and toys.