SANTA FE, New Mexico – September 8, 2009 – The Qwest Foundation has partnered with ¡YouthWorks! to help fund its YouthWorks School of Success (SOS) program with a corporate gift of $5,000. The Qwest Foundation grant will go towards purchasing computers, purchasing instructional materials and software and partial funding for a classroom teacher to teach GED preparation courses- all tools to drive success. On Sept 8 at 3:15 pm., Santa Fe Mayor, David Coss will be on hand on the lawn of City Hall to help present the grant to Melynn Schuyler-O'Neill, Executive Director of ¡YouthWorks!
“YouthWorks has been striving for many years to address the issues facing ‘disconnected’ and drop-out youth. The recently published high school drop-out statistics are surprising to our communities, but we have had a stark and real awareness of the problem for many years,” said Melynn Schuyler-O'Neill, Executive Director, YouthWorks. “With our partners, we have been working to construct educational and job training opportunities to assist youth to recover, re-engage and succeed. We are honored to be able to partner with the Qwest Foundation in order to continue to give at-risk and disadvantaged youth the opportunities they deserve.”
Qwest’s gift will have a positive impact on our efforts and directly impact youth as it will contribute toward the development of the educational skills, attitudes and work behaviors necessary for life-long success. The City of Santa Fe’s Mayor and City Councilors have been very supportive partners for ¡YouthWorks! programs over the past several years. The City, like Qwest, recognizes the need to re-engage the large numbers of disenfranchised youth in education and training, and has created innovative strategies to strengthen our local workforce. Through public works projects this partnership is making the city more sustainable while strengthening the fabric of the community.
YouthWorks School of Success initiative is an alternative education program, bringing disenfranchised youth, currently engaged in job training programs, into an integrated service system aimed at enhancing the economic competitiveness of Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico. The alternative education program meets the unique educational needs of at-risk youth, providing an alternative venue for GED preparation, job skill building, educational support and leadership development.
The goals of YW SOS are to:
- Initiate, develop and enhance regional workforce talent in Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico
- Prepare and inspire GED or high school diploma by integrating innovative technology into classroom curriculum;
- Guarantee at-risk youth receive basic needs to increase their ability to excel academically; and
- Ensure employers' workforce development needs are met.
“The Qwest Foundation is proud to contribute to the high-impact results produced by the YouthWorks program and its dedicated staff,” said Loretta A. Armenta, state president, Qwest New Mexico. “YouthWorks is preparing Santa Fe youth to succeed not only in school but is equipping them with the tools necessary to compete in today’s technology-driven world – something we are doing for businesses throughout New Mexico as well.”
¡YouthWorks! is a nonprofit organization, formed in 2001 to serve disadvantaged and at-risk youth in Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico. They specialize in a full spectrum of culturally appropriate programs that assist high-risk youth — predominantly Hispanic and Native American — to develop job skill training, build educational skills, and develop healthy attitudes and behaviors necessary to assure a successful future. Counseling is an integral part of all ¡YouthWorks! programs. ¡YouthWorks! has numerous "green" programs that focus on sustainability, conservation, river restoration, and other environmental issues and currently serves more than 3,000 children, youth, and young adults. They also assist families referred through schools, agencies, and other supportive youth development programs.
About the Qwest Foundation
The Qwest Foundation's core principle is that investing in people and communities provides lasting value for the future. The Qwest Foundation