This project includes the adaptation and expansion of the 4-H Youth Futures College Within Reach (YF) program in two Missouri communities with urgent needs: the city of Ferguson and Jefferson County. Co-developed and led by the University of Missouri Extension/4-H Center for Youth Development and Lincoln University Cooperative Extension, YF inspires and prepares underserved youth to attend and graduate from college. Program components include ongoing mentoring, completion of a curriculum focused on life skills around educational attainment and workforce development, college orientation and campus visits, parent engagement and meaningful youth leadership opportunities. CYFAR funding enhances YF to include: conflict management and relationship building skills; systematic professional development for staff and volunteers on topics such as Mental Health First Aid; and customized college orientation programs matched to youth needs. The impact on children, youth and families in these two communities is significant, but lessons, strategies and partnerships developed will also strengthen the YF program, improving evaluation, curricula and training.
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