When and why was Georgetown Divide Ready by 21TM formed

In Fall 2005, the Black Oak Mine Unified School District received a 2.9 million dollar grant to improve the health and safety of youth on the Georgetown Divide.

As part of the grant, two key mechanisms were identified to bring about change in the environments that support our youth. One thrust involved strengthening relationships with existing partners and bringing in others to unite the community around our youth. The second was the professional development of all those who worked with youth to increase awareness and skills related to youth development principles and practices, thus increasing the youth development potential of all classrooms and youth programs. This awareness was also to serve to increase awareness of when youth could partner with adults, which would lead to giving youth more engaging roles in their schools and in the community.

A steering committee was formed to provide direction for the youth development aspects of the grant. In 2008 the steering committee started the paperwork to become a nonprofit and formed the first board. Nonprofit status was achieved in March 2009

The Georgetown Divide Ready by 21TM, Inc. (GDRB21) nonprofit brings together committed partners who understand youth development and are moving forward to support the youth in our community.

What is Youth Development?

Youth Development has been defined by several researchers. Simply stated, youth development is the practices that help youth thrive. When young people feel invested in by the adults in their life, they develop a sense of belonging and value to others. Youth who experience greater supports and opportunities are more engaged in school, show more pro-social behavior and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.

An easy example of youth development would look like an adult asking youth for their opinion on a topic or what kind of results they have received from a certain experience. Youth development is asking for youth input when planning an event, class or program for youth and really utilizing that input in the end result. Youth development is could also be actually letting the youth plan and organize their own event, class or program and sharing the responsibility of having them run the program or teach the class. Youth development includes the adults providing adequate training and support for youth who are stretching themselves in new activities.

Core Beliefs

All Children and youth can succeed and be Ready By 21TM

All youth can build the competencies, values, and social skills needed for a successful transition into adulthood.

Success requires early and sustained investments

Communities must invest in their children and youth from birth to age twenty-one.

Children require ongoing nurturing, supports and opportunities to build the assets necessary to be Ready By 21TM.  Exposure to positive experiences, places, people, and opportunities to gain life skills will get them there.

Some families need extra support

Every child is unique, and some have special or unmet needs.  Children, youth and their families who face additional challenges such as disabilities, poverty, troubled family situations, discrimination or traumatic events require extra assistance in addressing these circumstances.

Everyone in the community has a role

Children and youth do not travel alone to adulthood. Families, friends, neighbors, teachers, and other adults become their community and influence their journeys. When we make positive investments in children and youth, we reap the rewards of an engaged, committed, connected and supportive community that continues the positive cycle.

Child development is multi-dimensional.

We develop in stages. Children and youth who are engaged and supported in each stage, learn critical skills that help prepare them for the next level.