Youth Opportunities Program
The Youth Opportunities Program (YOP) is a leadership and grantmaking program for City of Boulder youth. The program promotes youth civic engagement and leadership development, organizes community events, and provides technical and financial assistance to youth-serving organizations.
YOP strengthens the community through empowering youth, providing opportunities for youth, encouraging youth civic participation and volunteer work, and advising city government.
Since 1994 the YOP has:
- Allocated over two million dollars in sales tax funds to provide more than 100,000 youth with access to cultural, educational and recreational activities
- Funded programs in over 150 schools and organizations
- Fostered young people contributing over 55,000 hours of volunteer service to the community
A significant number of youth served are low income or people of color. The YOP helps local agencies improve program quality, enhance services to underserved youth and leverage tax dollars to secure other funding.
The YOP impacts Boulder youth in varied ways, including:
- Young people educate each other about preventing risk behaviors.
- Middle school parents get advice from high school students about how to support their children as they enter 9th grade.
- Students’ academic participation increases through involvement in programs the YOP funds.
- As one teen-ager finds his voice, another learns to stop herself from interrupting her peers.
- A YOP grant enables a poet to teach 8th graders to write poetry, who in turn teach 3rd graders.
- EFAA (Emergency Family Assistance Association) receives hundreds of pounds of toiletries donated by middle school students.
- A 12-year-old applies for a grant enabling her to attend summer camp and receives her first personal check.
Youth Opportunities Advisory Board
A significant aspect of the YOP is the Youth Opportunities Advisory Board (YOAB), which is comprised of 16 students from four local high schools. Past YOAB projects include:
- Conducting a youth survey about youth needs
- Creating a video about the achievement gap
- Organizing the Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally and youth writing contest
- YOAB’s Community Projects
Local Youth Leadership Opportunities and Youth Volunteer Information
The YOP maintains a list of many different local civic engagement programs middle or high school students can become involved in. Many of them tend to be longer-term commitments than the volunteer opportunities listed in the Youth Volunteer Information booklet, also published by the YOP, which contains a list of local youth volunteer opportunities organized by age.
Allison Bayley, Youth Opportunities Program Coordinator
303-441-4349 or BayleyA@bouldercolorado.gov
Rose Garcia, Youth Opportunities Program Assistant
303-441-1911 or Garciar@bouldercolorado.gov