Colorado Youth at Risk
Colorado Youth at Risk (CYAR) empowers teenage students to make life choices that positively impact their future through community-based mentoring and intensive training.
Colorado Youth at Risk aims to reduce the number of high school dropouts, match students with an adult mentor and provide students with a sense of the future and their place in that future.
Colorado Youth at Risk began in 1993 during Denver's "Summer of Violence." In 1993, nearly one out of every four murder suspects arrested in Denver was a juvenile male. Determined to do something to stop the senseless youth violence that was making drive-by shootings weekly occurrences, a group of residents from central Denver came together to form CYAR. The group recognized that caring adults were absent from these youths' lives and started a mentoring program called Steps Ahead for Youth to work with youth coming from a court-deferred diversion program. In 1996 with input from the Assistant Superintendents of Denver Public Schools (DPS), Colorado Youth at Risk shifted its' focus to serve younger youth in partnership with DPS High Schools. Determined to impact the dismal dropout rates in students transitioning from middle to high school, Colorado Youth at Risk created programming directed to support 9th graders.
Colorado Youth at Risk is the only mentoring organization in the area that works solely with high school students. We believe in supporting mentees and mentors throughout their experience, so we offer them extensive training and offer tiers of support. Each one of our programs starts with a community of about 40 mentors and 40 youth, which provides opportunities for creating relationships with other youth as well as adults. The Steps Ahead Youth program is a one-year intensive mentoring program (for 9th and 10th grade students). The Touchstone program is a 2-3 year follow up program to Steps Ahead designed to support students all the way through graduation.
Currently, Colorado Youth at Risk is serving students at George Washington, Manual, East and Aurora Central High Schools.