IMPACT OF EDUCATION DISPARITIES
YWCA works to eliminate disparities in the most critical areas of people’s lives. Lack of education is a root cause in disparities in economic mobility and empowerment. However, racialized barriers are often a driving force in education inequality.
Those who are most affected by institutional racism historically have received subpar academic resources and opportunities compared to their white peers. We can follow the path of institutional racism from its influences in our education system by looking at data such as grades, test scores, dropout rates, graduation rates, and higher education rates. These factors can play negatively into rates of poverty and incarceration for students of color.
YWCA SERVICE LEARNERS
We work to empower marginalized peoples and increase racial equity and opportunity for students and youth under the core belief that we must engage our partners and community to champion equity and inspire transformative action. Education is a powerhouse in building and sustaining racial equity, promoting local wealth and breaking out of poverty.
YWCA sets itself apart by offering internships and service learning opportunities to students based on mutual needs. Service learning can help to instill the skills and confidence students of color need to overcome barriers in the education system.
YWCA service learners work with us on this mission to increase racial equity. Service learners are students at the middle school, high school, or college level who perform service to meet an education requirement. These students support this goal by serving as nurses, legal interns, office assistants, and more. Service opportunities like these help students to discover and develop new interests and skills, stand out on resumes, and contribute to the community.
Education in this capacity is also important to the vitality of communities by creating new avenues of support systems. By collaborating with schools and colleges, YWCA does its part to contribute to the education and ambition of students while transforming the community.
AGENT OF CHANGE
"We will be remembered by our impact on a child."
– Nichola Fulmer
Nichola Fulmer has been the College and Career Specialist at Renton High School’s (RDS) Career Center for the past three years. Nichola has a Bachelor's degree in Social Welfare and a family history of volunteering and working with the Renton School District.
The Career Center is the “one stop shop” for anything after high school. Students can find resources on post-secondary education, direct workforce and apprenticeship programs, SAT/ACT prep, resume support, and financial aid. The Career Center works hard to shift the idea of community service from a “have to” to a “opportunity to” concept.
Volunteering is the first step towards the workforce for many students. Interview and day-to-day operation and interaction skills are learned in this experience. Students are encouraged to complete more than the minimum requirement of 20 hours for achievement awards, 80-99 hours of community service earns a bronze-level designation, 100-119 hours of community service earns a silver-level designation, and 120+ hours of community service earns a gold-level designation.
“All of us have worth and dignity and can all contribute.”
– Nichola Fulmer
Navigating the world as someone of mixed race, Nichola guides students through challenges they may face in a predominantly student-of-color school with a predominantly white staff. Being a low-income school, many students face challenges when working to complete their service learning hours. Kids have to undertake work, sports and clubs, transportation obstacles, economic and racial barriers, and on top of it all, figure out their future.
As an agent of change, Nichola encourages her students to celebrate diversity and differences and spark confidence in themselves. She does this by connecting with students to explore interests and pathways that work tangibly with RDS’s Career Clusters. Exploring these Clusters helps students to identify potential volunteer and post-high school opportunities.
We strive to offer students a chance to advance and demonstrate their skills in places YWCA needs them most. Renton High School is lucky to have Nichola doing such great work to empower and push her students towards success. It brings us so much pride to work with our community and watch it grow.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Check out these sites for more information on the advantages of youth volunteerism:
- Encourage The Young Ones: Inspiring Students To Volunteer [Volunteer Match]
- 5 Working Ways To Engage Students In Volunteering [Volunteer Match]
- Youth Volunteerism: A Key to Creating Lifelong Change [Philanthropy Journal News]
Kendyl Hardy is the Volunteer Services Coordinator at YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish. As an avid volunteer herself, Kendyl finds volunteering is a way to grow personally and as a community. Kendyl graduated with a degree in Public Relations with a concentration in nonprofit management. Throughout her college career, she worked to highlight the importance of civic service to sustain society and feature dialogue about issues affecting our communities.
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