Are you interested in youth empowerment and education reform? Are you seeking opportunities to gain and apply education theory and relevant skills? If yes, contact Elaina at to register for EDUC/INVS 2919: Renewing Democracy in Communities and Schools. A practicum course, EDUC/INVS 2919 invites undergraduates to work alongside K-12 students as they identify and address salient community issues. The course, which has been approved for the Education Minor, Arts & Sciences' Human Diversity Core, and the AmeriCorps scholarship program, will meet on campus on Mondays at either 1:00-2:30 p.m. or 2:55-4:25 p.m. and once weekly at a local elementary, middle, or high school in fall 2013. Please see the attached flyer for more information.

Download EDUC/INVS 2919 Flyer

CU Students Give Leadership Training to Belarus Students (expand/collapse)

A delegation of high school students from Belarus spent Monday on the University of Colorado campus learning leadership skills to help them start community gardens at their schools and in their communities.

In their home Eastern European country, the concept of volunteering is relatively new, explained Holly Nichols, with World Link Inc. -- a nonprofit that conducts exchange programs for educators and youth through government-sponsored projects.

"This generation wants to see volunteering in action," she said. "They want it for their country."

Prior to their field trip to the Boulder campus, the 13 students from Belarus -- who are in the United States on U.S. State Department scholarships -- visited community gardens in Chicago and Denver.

On Monday, they spent the day on the Boulder campus where undergraduates from CU's Public Achievement program trained them on how to launch and see volunteer projects through. Among the workshops was an afternoon one on how to handle challenges -- including what to do, if in their sustainability projects, they face resistance from nearby factories that are polluting the area. They also learned skills for convincing school leaders that community gardens can be used to teach real-life biology lessons.

The idea is that the student delegates will take their leadership training home and inspire others in their home country to follow their lead.

From the Daily Camera

Students to Share Experiences, Efforts to Fix Social Issues (expand/collapse)

On Wednesday, May 1, third- and fourth-graders who participate in the University of Colorado's Public Achievement program will share their recent efforts to raise awareness about student-identified social issues, including bullying, child safety, immigration, and youth homelessness.

The presentations will take place during a brief project unveiling from 3:45 to 4:40 p.m. Wednesday in the library at Pioneer Elementary, 101 East Baseline Road. The unveiling serves as a culmination to CU's year-long Public Achievement program.

Incorporating skits and multimedia, seven Public Achievement groups will have an opportunity to discuss student-identified social issues and review subsequent actions that they took to address these issues. To raise awareness about bullying, for example, students created both a storybook, which they shared with the Pioneer community, and coordinated a school-wide anti-bullying handprint pledge.

"It has been incredibly rewarding to work with students this year," Public Achievement coach and CU senior Kiki Lathrop said. "It is clear that youth have the power to address critical social issues yet their talents and ideas are often overlooked. P.A. counters this."

More than 80 Centaurus High School students will also have an opportunity to unveil their year-long Public Achievement projects in a similar ceremony at Centaurus High School, 10300 South Boulder Road, on Friday, May 3.

Like Pioneer students, Centaurus students have developed cooperative team projects to address a range of salient public issues, including animal abuse, domestic violence, gun violence, marriage equality, school funding, texting and driving, and teen substance abuse. Presentations will be shared in the student activities center from 11:25 a.m. to noon, 1:20 -2 p.m., and 2:15 to 3 p.m.

Administered by the University of Colorado's Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement, with support from INVST Community Studies and the School of Education, and in partnership with the "I Have a Dream" Foundation of Boulder County and the Boulder Valley School District, Public Achievement promotes civic engagement, student retention, and access to post-secondary education through a multidimensional and intergenerational service-learning curriculum.

From the Colorado Hometown Weekly

Lafayette Youth Plan Big Weekend (expand/collapse)

Lafayette is in for a youth-driven jolt of energy this weekend, with three youth-organized events on tap, focused on service and public awareness.

On Friday evening, April 26, Centaurus High School sophomores who participate in the University of Colorado's Public Achievement program will present Green-a-Palooza -- an Earth Day inspired event designed to bring awareness to global warming.

Starting at 6 p.m. at Festival Plaza, 309 South Public Road in Lafayette, student presenters will speak on a number of environmental issues and green practices.

"Members of the Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee will be making presentations," said Elaina Verveer, CU Public Achievement Director. "They have the day off from school Friday and will be drafting their remarks on green practices, like sustainability."

In recent months, Centaurus students have researched environmental issues and worked alongside CU student coaches to develop the cooperative service learning project.

In addition to Centaurus students, speakers from the CU chapter of the Colorado Ocean Coalition and the Thorne Nature Experience will make brief remarks.

Music entertainment will be provided.

At sunset, or around 7:30 p.m., Eats & Sweets ice cream shop and deli, 401 South Public Road, will present Dr. Seuss's "The Lorax" on a 16-foot projection screen in Festival Plaza. Visitors are invited to stay through the film, which will conclude around 9:45 p.m.

"Eats & Sweets is really great about partnering with relevent nonprofits and schools," Verveer said.

Eats & Sweets owner Bobby Pangilinan said 15 percent of the night's proceeds will go to a local environmental group of Centaurus students' choosing...

Read more at Colorado Hometown Weekly

Lafayette Youth Organize Cesar Chavez March, Service Learning Day (expand/collapse)

Students in Lafayette, from elementary school to high school, are helping with two big community events this month.

On Friday, community members will pay tribute to the legacy of civil rights leader Cesar Chavez during the ninth annual "Seeds of Justice" march and rally. The event is planned by the Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee, Latino Advisory Board and the University of Colorado's Public Achievement program.

Elaina Verveer, an instructor and public achievement director at CU, said the students organizing the events are committed to ensuring that young people know about Chavez.

"They recognize that it's important that their peers have an understanding of civil rights leaders, particularly in a diverse community like Lafayette," she said.

The march begins at 4 p.m. at Pioneer Bilingual Elementary School, on the northeast corner of Baseline and Public roads. The march will proceed south on Public Road before veering east of South Boulder Road to LaMont Does Park. Immediately following the march will be a rally, planned for 4:30 p.m. at LaMont Does Park, and a carnival.

Balkarn Shahi, a senior at Centaurus High and a Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee member, said he was impressed that Chavez dedicated his life to his cause.

"He took it onto himself; he stepped up and said, 'I'll do it,'" he said. "It's important to celebrate what these heroes in our history achieved."

From the Daily Camera

Former 'Dreamers' Are Giving Back to Program (expand/collapse)

At Lafayette's Centaurus High School, they participated in Public Achievement, an international youth initiative that allows young people to address issues through service-learning and civic education projects. Now students at the University of Colorado, both are serving as mentors for "I Have a Dream" elementary students in an afterschool Public Achievement program.

"I always wanted to see how it felt to be the coach instead of the student," said Castillo, a sophomore at CU who's working with students at Lafayette's Pioneer Elementary. "When I was at Centaurus, we felt like we didn't have a voice. But the coaches in Public Achievement always told us we did."

Read More

CU Students Join Local Youth to Pay Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. (expand/collapse)

MLK March

Nearly 600 community members of all ages and backgrounds celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the City of Lafayette's 8th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. March for Peace and Celebration on Monday, January 21, 2013. Planned by the Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee in partnership with the University of Colorado's Public Achievement program, the event commenced with a March for Peace on Lafayette's Public Road. Immediately following, community members reconvened at Escuela Bilingue Pioneer for an afternoon celebration, featuring a keynote address by critically-acclaimed rapper and poet Molina Speaks, performances by the Shekenah Glory Choir of the Second Baptist Church, Angevine Middle School Jazz Band, and Escuela Bilingue Pioneer's "Dance for Social Change" group, and original poetry by University of Colorado undergraduate Ace Eckstein. An inclusive community playback performance by Motus Theater followed, as did service projects at both Pioneer and Project YES.

MLK March

Commenting on the event, University of Colorado junior and Public Achievement teaching assistant Sienna Dellepiane shared, "I think it is critical to honor Dr. King, who was one of the first people to really popularize grassroots movements and empower citizens to respond to social inequalities. It is appropriate that Public Achievement and groups, like the Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee, maintain this annual event, as they directly subscribe to King's vision."

See and for local media coverage.

CU Undergraduates Discuss Education Reform with Congressman Jared Polis (expand/collapse)

Congressman Polis

On Monday, December 10, 2013, United States Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) met with University of Colorado Boulder students, who are currently enrolled in a practicum courses INVS/EDUC 2919: Renewing Democracy in Communities and Schools and INVS4999: Teaching Social Justice. In addition to reviewing legislative priorities for the 113th Congress, Congressman Polis identified ways in which CU Boulder undergraduates might join elected officials to reform K-12 education, better address salient public issues, and renew democracy. Approximately 50 students participated in the discussion.

Reflecting on the discussion, University of Colorado Boulder senior Bridget Doherty shared, "I was excited to have the opportunity to meet Congressman Polis and learn more about his career. I also think that it is important for students, serving as Public Achievement coaches, to have the opportunity to directly collaborate with public officials, which is the premise behind Public Achievement."

Congressman Polis has historically supported CU Boulder's Public Achievement program. In April 2010, he joined Public Achievement coaches and their high school counter-parts during the City of Lafayette's Cesar Chavez "Seeds of Justice" March and Rally. The event was coordinated by students as a means to both pay tribute to civil rights leader Cesar Chavez and raise awareness about the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Congressman Polis has also participated in the City of Lafayette's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. March for Peace and Celebration, which is coordinated by Public Achievements and members of the Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee. Staff members have also met with Public Achievement students on numerous occasions to discuss K-12 education funding, immigration, and other public issues.

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