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Alpine Achievers Initiative

AAI supports schools, families, and youth in rural Southern Colorado. Donating to AAI helps to expand out of school, nature, educational interventions, social emotional learning, staff training, and youth development programs in under resourced schools and communities.

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Youth Focused SEL Programming

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
At-Risk Populations
Children (4-12 years)
Ethnic/Racial Minorities

Description

In addition to its B2B, OST, and educational interventions, Alpine Achievers Initiative offers a variety of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs.
SEL focuses on increasing prosocial behaviors and 21st century skills in the students and youth AAI serves. These evidenced based programs teach youth increased empathy, conflict resolution, inclusivity, self-regulation, affective communication, and resilience. These skills allow students to be more effective in social interactions with their families, peers, communities, and into the future careers.
AAI offers SEL in a variety of structured programs, as well as in methodologies that allow AmeriCorps members and AAI staff to integrate SEL approaches into other existing programs. We train our AmeriCorps members in a variety of SEL curricula and methodologies throughout their time serving with us.
SEL curricula AAI offers:

Mindful Schools: An evidenced based mindfulness curricula taught through short (30 minute or less) lessons that can function as full activities or breaks within the school day or OST, that teach youth moment-to-moment awareness. This increase in mindfulness is taught through learning the importance of being aware of body, thought, emotions, and actions to enhance self-regulation. Being evidenced-based and incorporating trauma-informed practices, Mindful Schools curricula has shown to decrease stress and overwhelm in youth, while increasing their resilience and prosocial skills which has lead to decreases in referral and suspension/expulsion, while increasing positive school and community climate. This program is offered to schools through trained AAI staff and AmeriCorps members, who model and share curricula with educational institutions.

Girls Circle/The Council for Boys and Young Men: Trained AAI facilitators offer assistance in running the One Circle Foundation's seminal and researched circle programs. These programs are inclusive, trauma-informed, and LGBTQ+ supportive curricula for small groups of 9-18 year olds, centered around multi-session meetings of 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, around a variety of topics that can work during school time for students who need extra support or during OST. Using a circle model, the facilitators build relationships with and among the participating youth to craft a peer support group, build inclusivity, enhance empathy, and create critical thinkers through activities that pair education, dialogue, crafts, and games together. Topics in curricula include anti-bullying, inclusivity, understanding body change and image, healthy relationships, and positive gender expressions and behavior.

Random Acts of Kindness: Through promoting the simple goal of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, that kindness begins with one kind act a day, this program and methodology increases positive climate and prosocial behavior one student at a time. All AAI staff and AmeriCorps members are trained to be RAKtivists and promote these acts of throughout the day. This program functions on multiple levels, through short class or OST activities, as well as staff and members modelling constant ways of engaging in kindness and gratitude with youth and adults that can be integrated into other AAI programs.

PeaceJam: Alpine Achievers Initiative offers a selection of PeaceJam programs for youth aged 5-18. As with all programs AAI offers to educational institutions, PeaceJam curricula are easy to include into existing school lessons and initiatives, as well as during OST. PeaceJam programs focus on literacy through learning about the lives, lands, and history of 13 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, as well as activities to learn the skills used by the laureates that have assisted them in their lives and work. Beyond gaining academic skills, youth learn a variety of social and emotional skills that prepare them to understand the causes of bullying, increase empathy, self-regulation, compassion, inclusivity, altruism, engage in prosocial activities, and guide them to becoming active community members who can model their skills and knowledge for others.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

As these initiatives are new this year, the following consists of links to see the evidence behind these approaches.

Using mindfulness in schools:
https://mindfulnessinschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Weare-Evidence-Review-Final.pdf
https://mindfulnessinschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/MiSP-Research-Summary-2012.pdf
https://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/files/gse-mcc/files/mindfulness.pdf

One Circle Foundation:
www.onecirclefoundation.org/research-GC.aspx
http://onecirclefoundation.org/docs/Research-TC-Phase2.pdf

RACK:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-moment-youth/201301/acts-kindness-key-happiness-children-teens?goback=%2Egde_2053471_member_200549162%5C
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/247960

Community and Staff Focused SEL Trainings

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Adults
At-Risk Populations
Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender
Parents
Teachers

Description

Alpine Achievers Initiative understands that effective Social Emotional Learning (SEL) does not begin or end with the students.
SEL approaches are effective to increasing positive school climate, increasing prosocial behavior that decreases bullying, office referrals, and suspension/expulsion, and assist in classroom management.
Beyond offering curricula to enhance SEL for youth, AAI offers a variety of trainings for educational staff and community partners that helps support youth in the classroom and into the broader community. AAI's trainings assist in promoting approaches to youth driven development, mental health understanding and first responders, and increasing inclusivity in schools and the community.
AAI's educational staff and community partners trainings include:

Positive Youth Development: Alpine Achievers Initiative's certified PYD trainers are available to train staff and youth in schools and their community partners in this strengths-based and trauma-informed strategy of engaging and strengthening relationship with youth. PYD is a powerful approach that assists in the development youth-driven and focused programs. By focusing on the strengths of youth - through learning how to identify and support their behaviors, goals,and personalities, which can often be obscured by antisocial behavior, through skills that allow for supporting partners to reframe negatives and positives, and use the reframing to enhance prosocial approaches. Through this strength-based and strength-supportive lens, Positive Youth Development allows for the creation of understanding youth perspectives and needs to create productive and constructive spaces, opportunities, relationships, and supports that are proven to enhance leadership, community engagement, peer relationships, protection, and prosocial behavior and activities.


Mental Health First Aid: Mental Health and concerns related to it have become forefront in public discussions in recent years. From these discussions one theme has become evident, a lot of stakeholders in schools and communities don't have a full spectrum of knowledge to understand, support, and help those suffering from mental health concerns, nor know how to connect them to resources. These gaps have made Mental Health First Aid increasingly important as the public discussion of the impacts of and need of support for mental health continue to increase. Alpine Achievers Initiative offer MHFA training as an 8 hour or two day format that trains first responders to deal with youth that may be showing symptoms of mental health crisis. It teaches staff how to respond, how to decrease escalation, who to reach out to for help, and how to connect youth to resources to increase support for youth and adults who need mental health assistance. It does not train in diagnosis, therapy, or counseling.

Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Creation Assistance: Alpine Achievers Initiative supports its partners in education and communities in laying the foundation for the creation of Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs). Across the US and Canada, Middle and High Schools along with Colleges and Universities, have created GSAs to lead their communities in the generation of safe and supportive spaces for LGBTQ+ youth and their straight allies. These student lead groups show leadership and model inclusion in their school and communities, along with building support for events such as No Name-Calling Week, Ally Week, and Day of Silence to promote understanding, resource sharing, and community cohesiveness. AAI staff and associated AmeriCorps members have been trained in inclusivity and frameworks of GSAs and will assist interested parties in laying the foundations and building sustainability for GSAs, as well as getting students connected to resources and other GSAs.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

As these initiatives are new this year, the following consists of links to see the evidence behind these approaches.

PYD:
https://4-h.org/about/research/
http://faculty.wiu.edu/P-Schlag/articles/What%20is%20Positive%20Youth%20Development.pdf
http://faculty.wiu.edu/P-Schlag/articles/What%20is%20Positive%20Youth%20Development.pdf

MHFA:
https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR900/RR972/RAND_RR972.pdf
https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/cs/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/MHFA-Research-Summary-UPDATED.pdf

GSA:
https://www.glsen.org/sites/default/files/Gay-Straight%20Alliances.pdf
https://news.ubc.ca/2014/01/20/gay-straight-alliances-in-schools-reduce-suicide-risk-for-all-students/

Backyard to Backcountry

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
At-Risk Populations
Children (4-12 years)
Females
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent

Description

Alpine Achievers Initiative provides a variety of outdoor leadership opportunities to challenge students, inspire their sense of respect and appreciation for the natural world and bring out their unique strengths and talents. Our Backyard to Backcountry program, started in 2016, allows AAI members to get training to take students on trips all over the San Luis Valley, from nature walks to backcountry backpacking. In te he 2016-2017 year, AAI was able to take students rock climbing, hiking, backpacking, camping, and skiing/snowboarding.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"It offers students a cost free option to getting out into the wild places that surround the San Luis Valley. We have only just begun our programming within schools to offer school credit for completion of our outdoor education programs. Currently this has been piloted at Crestone Charter and a few other school are interested."

As our programs are young and currently expanding, our data is fresh and anecdotes being collected. Please watch this space as we update it.

Out-of-School Time (OST) Programs

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
At-Risk Populations
Children (4-12 years)
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent

Description

Our OST programs increase protective factors and developmental assets among K-12 students in alignment with Positive Youth Development (PYD) principles.
Carefully designed OST programs provide safe and supportive environments for social-emotional development and educational enrichment activities while promoting healthy school bonding and supportive adult role modeling.

Our OST Programs Include:
- Daily Elementary Afterschool Program for students K-5
- Friday Programming for students K-5
- Daily Before school Morning Program for students K-8
- Enrichment Clubs for Middle School and High School (Music, Photography, Poetry, Woodworking, Fitness, etc.)
- Alternative Winter Break and Spring Break programming
- Special events
- Dances and After prom events
- Learning Adventures
- Bioneers Conference, San Rafael, CA
- Summer Programming (through July 15)
- Outdoor Leadership opportunities

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"Our students and families rely on these programs. OST programming is a critical protective factor for behavioral issues and even substance abuse prevention. Specifically the Friday programming serves a huge need for local families of working parents."

"Parents benefit from childcare in cases which they might have stressful home environments that are not conducive to raising a child at home. This gives them an opportunity to work on Fridays and after school."

As our programs are young and currently expanding, our data is fresh and anecdotes being collected. Please watch this space as we update it.

In-School Academic Interventions

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
At-Risk Populations
Children (4-12 years)
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent

Description

Pairing struggling students with an AmeriCorps member who can serve them throughout the year increases academic performance, boosts confidence and gives kids a chance to succeed.
Our AmeriCorps members:
- Deliver one-on-one and small group tutoring with fidelity in math and literacy (3-5 times per week for 20-45 minutes per session).
- Support students performing below the 33rd percentile of their grade level.
- Are trained in evidence-based intervention techniques before they start serving in schools and receive ongoing professional development and intervention training throughout the school year.
- Work closely with teachers and Response to Intervention teams to make sure they are implementing complementary instruction to students.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"The academic support is incredibly valuable to our school!"
- AAI Partner School Staff

"We would lose a lot of valuable support for our at risk student population in our school setting."
- AAI Partner School Staff

"Many schools depend on AAI; Valley schools are understaffed and AmeriCorps help to provide better ratios for kids here, as well as infuse the schools with new energy and passion for young people."
- Organizational Partner

"Communities would lose much needed additional support in engaging and instructing students. Teachers time is very limited already; AI helps to fill those gaps."
- AAI School Site Supervisor

As our programs are young and currently expanding, our data is fresh and anecdotes being collected. Please watch this space as we update it.

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.