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.
2015 M.L. King Day observance in Boulder featured a day of service and a documentary
MLK Day of Service
On Saturday, Jan. 17, 52 Boulder youth joined communities around the country in celebrating Martin Luther King Day as “a day on, not a day off” by volunteering at local non-profit agencies. YOAB members Karla Cruz, Gabriela Bell, Lindsay Lavington and Maria Cerda worked together with the identified agencies to plan and organize the day of service and facilitated a reflection session to connect the activities to Martin Luther King. The agencies and service projects included:
- Out Boulder – work on a mural celebrating LGBTQ activists;
- Frasier Meadows - food bags for the homeless were made with the help of facility residents;
- Wildlands Restoration Volunteers - harvesting of native seeds and the making of seed bombs; and
- The Boulder Public Library - where volunteers assisted Technical Services staff.
The Day of Service ended with a celebration at the Bridge Teen Space where youth performed and made collaborative art projects.
“King: A Filmed Record: From Montgomery to Memphis” Community Screening and Panel
On Monday, Jan. 19, over 90 people attended the event at the Dairy Center in Boulder, which presented a great opportunity to learn about and reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and work, and the civil rights movement as a whole. The panel discussion, moderated by Norma Johnson, included Wilford Buggs and Brenda Lyle and focused on Boulder’s role and history in regards to civil rights work.
Organizations are invited to continue the conversation by hosting free community screenings of “King: A Filmed Record.” Please contact the Office of Human Rights at 303-441-3141.
The 2015 MLK Day Resource Guide includes information on local and national organizations, books, websites, films, and arts and culture resources that address race.
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) received 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 celebration
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