Cornell Youth Outreach Undergraduates Reshaping Success Project
The Cornell YOURS program connects low-income youth living in mobile home communities throughout Dryden, NY, with Cornell student mentors for four days of after-school programming every week throughout the semester. Over 80 inspiring, service-minded students volunteer their time by planning and facilitating engaging and educational enrichment activities. Youth build positive relationships with their mentors through field trips, hands-on experiments, art projects, and outdoor games.
This online giving campaign seeks to raise funds for the logistical costs of programming, including:
Transportation: To keep programs free and accessible for all youth, YOURS volunteers pick up youth at their homes and drive them to and from programming activities. Transportation costs (including gas and van mileage) constitute a high percentage of total program costs.
Application Processing: YOURS prioritizes the safety and well-being of all participating youth. Background checks are mandatory for all YOURS volunteer mentors, and unfortunately, these are costly. A large portion of funds raised through this campaign will be used to fund volunteer background checks.
Healthy, Free Snacks: At every program, kids receive a substantial and healthy snack to keep their bellies full and their brains powered. While the YOURS program sources much of this food through local donation centers, supplemental funds are necessary.
Goal: After our incredible success last year, YOURS is undertaking another ambitious fundraising goal of $5,000.00. These funds are essential for maintaining the health and longevity of this free program, which reaches an underserved and highly isolated portion of the greater Ithaca community.
Funding goals are detailed below:
Transportation: YOURS uses vans from Cornell Cooperative Extension. The typical cost for driving youth to and from program on one day is $25.00 per van. That’s about $1,800.00 every semester.
Application Processing: Background checks for new mentors cost, on average, $1,000-$1,500 in processing fees each school year.
Each volunteer attends at least one of three weekly programs: Monday Makers, Tech Tuesdays, Wellness Wednesdays, and Thursday Literacy Program.
- Mondays: Volunteers take on the role of mentors; they work one-on-one with the children and focus on encouraging imaginative thinking, teamwork, and creative independence. The mentees leave program with someone they crafted themselves, such as "Who am I?" posters or color wheels.
- Tuesdays: Volunteers provide opportunities for children to share and reinforce individual strengths through hands on projects. Mentors and mentees work together on science projects, such as rocket building, that will be presented at the end of the semester. There are also field trips to help mentees learn more about and explore different STEM fields.
- Wednesdays: Volunteers promote teamwork, healthy eating, and independence. Activities are geared towards nutritional health and wellness. Some include apple picking, gardening, and cook-off competitions.
- Thursdays: Volunteers incorporate reading and writing into fun and interactive activities. There are special guest presentations, as well as crafts and games to encourage kids to read and write.
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CornellYOURS/
Follow us on Instagram: @yours_cornell