In Orange County, 1 in 20 youth are disconnected from the typical pathways of education, college and career.
This number does not capture the number of vulnerable youth at risk for disconnection, those who navigate adolescence with additional challenges and fewer resources to draw upon:
- Students with trauma histories
- Students of color facing systemic disadvantages
- Students from immigrant communities
- Students from low-income families
Students suspended even once in 9th grade drop out of school twice as often as their peers. 60% of students who drop out of high school begin to disengage by 6th grade.
- Black and Latino youth tend to have higher-than-average rates of disconnection, and are disproportionately represented in out-of school suspensions. This disproportionality is reflected in the youth we serve at Boomerang annually: 65% Black, 25% Latino.
- Over 55% of families we serve are below the poverty threshold.
Disconnection is not inevitable. At Boomerang, we know that investing in youth changes their trajectory towards positive change.
School engagement and graduation connect young people to positive life outcomes. Boomerang programs are designed for students to examine their actions, identify their strengths, connect decisions with consequences, learn new ways of dealing with challenges, and discover new possibilities.
- We work with middle and high school students from Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and Orange County Schools.
- We focus on building skills in managing conflict, improving communication, engaging in healthy relationships, setting reachable goals and other decision making skills that help them reengage and stay engaged.
- We measure each young person’s progress against the following criteria: connection to a caring adult, making positive choices, commitment to graduating, and a plan for the future.
No matter their individual starting points or what happens along the way, all young people have skills and talents that deserve to be developed and nurtured. It is incumbent on all of us to create the environments where they can grow and learn, and in which they can become successful.