PA is a nationwide program that has a branch within CU Engage — the university’s Center for Community Based Learning and Research — which encourages middle and high school students to address social issues in their communities. In the program, groups of seventh through 12th graders are paired with college student coaches who are enrolled in School of Education courses at CU Boulder. 

“I could literally say that it (Public Achievement) changed my life,” said Medrano, who is now 20 and began her term as the youngest member of Lafayette City Council this past December. “When I was introduced to the program, it really gave me that social justice lens that I never learned anywhere. And it put a name to the experiences that I had been living through my childhood and up to high school. It made me realize I’m not the only one that experiences this discrimination and feeling of not belonging. It’s a larger issue.”

Read more about this story by Patricia Kaowthumrong here.