Hands on Schools VISTAs doing great work…Youth Policy Institute, Inc.
Serving at the Sylmar Biotech Health Academy/Youth Policy Institute, http://www.ypiusa.org/ are VISTAs: Claudia Marmol & Veronica Lomeli (Parental & Community Support VISTAs), Nancy Rojas (Teacher Support and Facility Enhancement VISTA), and Natasha Murtaza & Everett Au (Student Academic Success VISTAs). The Sylmar Biotech school site the VISTAs are serving at is a brand new high school that was created under the partnership model; meaning that the school is part Los Angeles Unified School District and part non-profit (Youth Policy Institute).
The Youth Policy Institute (YPI) is a non-profit that provides education, training and technology services to lift families out of poverty. YPI serves families and communities primarily in the Los Angeles County with branches in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Albuquerque and the Washington, D.C. area. The non-profit aims to empower youth and young adults by providing afterschool and in-school opportunities such as: college preparation, tutoring and adult literacy services to help low-income families succeed. YPI further aims to support their communities by providing courses to prepare community members for jobs in growing fields, and providing access to computer technology and skills necessary to excel in school and the workplace.
Together all five VISTAs work collaboratively to provide support for parent & community members, the teachers at the school and the students with the hopes of developing a thorough and well rounded support network. Nancy (Teacher Support and Facility Enhancement) specifically works to develop and bring in partnerships to provide additional support and resources for the teachers and the school. In the past few months, she partnered with a local teen clinic to bring health/sex-ed educators to the school, a drug and alcohol prevention center to have representatives speak to the students on healthy living choices, and the University of California Los Angeles to have some students visit the college to attend workshops on how to access higher education.
Claudia and Veronica (Parent & Community Support) collaboratively work to provide a variety of educational, informative and skill based programs to create a better informed and aware community. They accomplish this by partnering with local non-profits, organizations and a large volunteer base to bring services and support programs to the parents and community members at our site. Thus far, Claudia and Veronica have a produced a myriad of programs such as: Zumba/health workshops, college literacy workshops for parents and community members, financial awareness workshops, drug and alcohol prevention workshops, and afterschool computer classes to name a few.
Finally, Everett and Natasha (Student Academic Success) work with students, partners from local organizations and volunteers to provide the necessary academic and extracurricular support for the students at the Sylmar Biotech Health Academy. More specifically, they partnered with a local community college’s Teacher Preparatory program to recruit volunteer in-school and afterschool tutors, partnered with college representatives to speak on the various forms of higher education and how to access it, and worked with local community organizations and non-profits to provide additional extracurricular opportunities for the students.