What is Teens Act (Independence High School)?
We empower underserved students to graduate from high school and go on to higher education.
Teens Act was founded in 2007 by Dayan Bernal, a BYU student. Since then, the program has received funding from Provo School District, has partnered with United Way, and was given the Bright Spot Award by the White House Initiative on Education Excellence in 2015. The program continues to expand its reach to help more underserved students to develop the skills necessary to graduate from high school and to attend college.
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The Need for Our Program
During the 2014 school year, 6,460 students dropped out of high school in the state of Utah, and the school boundaries of Provo School District are particularly at risk. That same year, only 23% of Independence High School seniors graduated. Dropping out of high school disqualifies adults from working in 90% of posted jobs in the US, which leads to an increased risk of crime and poverty. Our program works to improve the futures of these students.
Our research indicates that most public agencies focus on under-resourced students who are already in good academic standing. Instead, we specifically target students who have a low GPA (2.5 or less). About 88% of our students are on the free or reduced lunch program, and over 85% of our students will be the first in their families to complete a college education.
What We Do
In-class and after-school tutoring: BYU volunteers meet with Teens Act students at Independence High School and Provo High School to provide additional homework help, mentoring, and support. This allows our students to receive the assistance they need to be successful students.
Academic empowerment: We hope to inspire our students to pursue high school success, career development, and college education.
Within our program, there is a Teens Act class taught at Independence High School here in Provo. I've had the opportunity of participating in this class. It is inspiring to me to see how this class truly helps the teens set goals, improve their lives, and gain a greater vision of what they can become in the future. It is a priviledge to be a part of a program that is making a significant difference in the community.
-Nathan Smyth (2017)
I tutored in a high school Earth Science class this semester, and I loved the moments when a topic clicked and a student finally "got it". Tutoring doesn't just increase their knowledge; it increases their confidence in school and in their abilities.
-Trevor Wilson (2017)
Read more on our Y-Serve blog!