CYC's theory of change is to surround children ages 3-18 with the social capital they need—innovative programming, creative and safe learning spaces, and supportive families and mentors—so they will find and stay on a path to success, and ultimately break the generational cycles of poverty and violence. In 2014, CYC initiated two pilot programs to activate our theory of change and strengthen our impact. CYC’s Board of Directors and staff have done the following:
- Revised our curriculum based on the nationally-recognized and research-based Partnership for 21st Century Learning to teach children the 21st Century skills needed to thrive in school and ultimately the workplace: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication
- Provided holistic education to help children develop academically, socially, emotionally, and physically
- Built our first Maker Lab, an innovative workshop where children use advanced software to design projects and solve problems, enhancing their interest and performance in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math)
- Launched our inaugural Summer Enrichment Program to combat summer learning loss and keep children active, engaged, and safe during a season when violence increases
- Initiated our Family Engagement Program to help parents become advocates for their children
- Became one of the initial agencies to implement the innovative BProud curriculum to teach parents how to promote anti-violence within their families and communities
The results were inspiring: CYC children performed better in school, attended classes more frequently, were more motivated to succeed, and made concrete plans for the future.
Outcomes from Early Childhood, Out-of-School-Time Learning, and Teen Leadership Development Programs
- 100% of our children (ages 3-13) advanced to the next grade level.
- 100% of our teens (ages 14-18) advanced to the next grade level.
- 95% of our children and teens increased school performance by attending classes more frequently and spending more hours on school work.
Outcomes from our pilot program at CYC’s Rebecca K. Crown Youth Center (South Shore):
- Enrollment in our Center doubled.
- Teacher assessments showed children and teens increased their critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication skills by more than 50%.*
- Our children’s interest in STEAM fields increased and the CYC Maker Lab was recognized in a segment on NBC. Check out http://bit.ly/cycmakerlab.
- Enrollment in parent workshops and volunteer events tripled.
Outcomes from our pilot Summer Enrichment Program at CYC’s Elliott Donnelley Youth Center (Bronzeville):
- 126 youth participated in CYC’s swim program. 67% advanced at least one swim level. This is particularly important in the African American community, who experience drowning at rates 5 times higher compared to White children.
- Students increased their score on The Math Power Test from 54% proficiency to 81% proficiency after completing CYC’s Summer Enrichment Program.
- Students increased their score on the Informal Reading Inventory by Burns/Roe from 57% proficiency to 85% proficiency after completing CYC’s Summer Enrichment Program.
- Teacher assessments showed children and teens (ages 5-16) increased their creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills by more than 15%.*
* Results based on the Survey of Academic Youth Outcomes (SAYO), developed by the National Institute of Out-of-School Time. SAYO evaluates after-school youth workers and children and teens, both pre-participation and post-participation, cross-referencing the self-assessment results with the teachers’ evaluations of student performance.