St. John Community-School Alliance, Texas


  • Community name: St. John Community-School Alliance
  • Community or city website
  • Population: 18,030 people
  • Graduation rate: 58.5%
  • Youth poverty rate: 43% 


St. John Community-School Alliance’s (SJCSA) efforts to encourage youth leadership, education and health has earned it the honor of being named one of the 2011 100 Best Communities for Young People by America’s Promise Alliance for the fourth time.

A great example of St. John’s youth-focused work is the annual HopeFest, which connects nearly 4,000 residents to resources such as health care, legal advice, employment opportunities and more. In addition, the AVID program helps “students in the middle” achieve success in Honors and AP classes, and also helps them enroll in college. Thanks to the efforts of the AVID program, 98.2 percent of graduates enroll in college, and over 60 percent remain for four years, beating the national average by 25 percent. SJCSA has worked to overcome high poverty, crime and substandard schools, and now has over 55 partner organizations working together to support area youth, making this community a leader in its area for collaborative planning.

Community Programs

  • The Stand Up youth club, run by nonprofit Austin Voices, works to mobilize youth voices and planning.
  • As a result of Mayor Leffingwell’s commitment to the National League of Cities Mayors’ Action Challenge for Children and Families, the city is forming a Youth Council, which has developed a new Youth Court program where young people act to determine corrective plans for their peers who violate school rules.
  • The Promise Neighborhood Coalition meets monthly to coordinate the 55 partners and St. John schools around planning, projects and funding.
  • HopeFest is an annual celebration of sustainable, empowering change for families followed by 6 weeks of community service; this event attracts almost 4,000 local residents each year and provides access to resources such as healthcare, clothing, legal advice, and more.
  • The Family Resource Centers offers families a safe avenue at which they can find information  on and assistance with health care options, including immunizations, sports physicals, dental appointments, and more.
  • The AVID program addresses college and career readiness by helping students become successful in Honors and AP classes and to enroll in college.
  • St. John’s Reagan High School will partner with Austin Community College in fall 2011 to become an Early College high school campus to help raise college readiness and admission standards.

Youth Voices

Not only do we want victory for ourselves but we want it for the rest of the world as well.


I have band pushing me to pass and succeed with my greatest; the “no pass no play” rule haunts me when I have a low grade.