ACCESS INC

aka Access Youth   |   Washington, DC   |  www.accessyouthinc.org

Mission

Access Youth envisions an equitable education system where all students obtain the academic and emotional support they need to achieve their highest potential. Our mission is to keep vulnerable youth in school and out of the justice system through mediation, restorative justice, and positive youth development.

Ruling year info

2009

Executive Director and Founder

Ms. Jodi E Ovca

Main address

1101 30th Street, NW Suite 500

Washington, DC 20007 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

26-2190029

NTEE code info

Youth Community Service Clubs (O51)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In Washington, D.C., only 42% of public school students are on track to graduation, and this number is even lower for students of color in under-resourced schools. At Access Youth’s partner schools, more than 90% of enrolled students live below the poverty line—far beyond those of their peers in other D.C. neighborhoods. When young people are exposed to chronic poverty, instability, and violence, they face significant challenges in school and at home. Too often, the challenges of poverty or the underlying emotional trauma they face manifests in missing school or displaying negative behaviors that lead to suspension or arrest. Many urban schools still rely on zero-tolerance policies, which have been proven to disproportionately disenfranchise people of color. As a result, the students most in need of support are instead pushed out of school by an overly punitive system, only to fall further behind their peers or eventually drop out of school altogether.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Truancy Prevention

Access Youth’s Truancy Prevention Program empowers at-risk youth with the tools they need to stay in school, graduate on time, and avoid the criminal justice system through restorative justice-based interventions. Students who are referred to our Truancy Prevention Program have three or more unexcused absences—a significant warning of future drop out. The objective of the Truancy Prevention Program is to prevent student dropout by increasing In-Seat-Attendance (ISA) and reducing the number of unexcused absences.

The purpose of Access Youth’s Truancy Prevention program is to provide trauma-informed, data-driven, and evidence-based interventions for chronically absent, at-risk high school students at our partner high schools (Anacostia, Ballou, and Eastern). We provide a four-pronged model of student support that assists students in confronting and addressing the practical, behavioral, familial, and health challenges that act as barriers to consistent attendance. This is critical, as high school absenteeism is a key factor in student dropout, and students who drop out of high school are not only far more likely to end up in the justice system, but will earn significantly less than their peers who graduate, meaning they are at much higher risk for staying caught in a cycle of poverty.

Our Truancy Prevention Program promotes positive behavior change in students so they are not just coming to school, they are also focused on succeeding academically. Our overall objective is to reduce the percentage of youth who are considered chronically truant, increase ISA rates and improve pro-social behavior in the students we serve.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Access Youth aims to engage the District's most vulnerable youth with holistic programming in order to curb the school-to-prison pipeline. Each year in Washington, D.C., 8,500 public school students are truant, 5,200 public school students are suspended from school, and over 3,000 juvenile arrests take place. These students are less likely to graduate from high school, pursue post-secondary education, and find employment, and are more likely to become the victims or perpetrators of crime. Access Youth believes that by intervening early, we can provide youth with the opportunity to make better decisions and pursue their passions.

Students are referred to Access Youth through two doors: truancy (when they have three or more unexcused absences) and behavior (when they have been suspended for bullying, threats, or fighting). Truancy and behavioral challenges are key factors that lead a student to drop out of school. This is critical at our partner schools, since there is little support for truancy and behavior, other than the programming we offer. Without us, students’ futures can be in jeopardy after three missed days of school or just one suspension, This is particularly critical as student’s transition from middle school to high school. To ensure that students do not “slip through the cracks” Access Youth proactively works with middle schools to identify and enroll at-risk incoming ninth grade students, although we actively recruit students of all grade levels who would benefit from our programming. These students are supported by our full-time, on-site Program Managers who implement our four-pronged model of student empowerment:
1) Relationship Building empowers students to develop strong relationships—with a caring adult, their peers, teachers, and families.
2) Opportunities such as coaching, support, and incentives are offered. After-school and lunchtime programs include our EQ-i© curriculum and Y.O.G.A (Your Own Greatness Affirmed), our girls’ group, M.A.D.E. (My Attitude Determines Everything), our Youth Advisory Board, and Life Skills such as Career and College Readiness, which equip students with skills for success.
3) Planning and Goal Setting with Program Managers allows students to define their attendance or behavioral challenges and then develop individualized mediation agreements.
4) Accountability, tracked through daily and/or weekly individual and/or group meetings, allows Program Managers to monitor students’ progress and adherence to their mediation agreements.

Our team is highly qualified to carry out the mediation sessions and life skills sessions. Our leadership and staff are trained in mediation, youth development, and program development, and we meet as a team quarterly to discuss challenges and additional skills required for the job. We have established strong relationships within the schools and developed beneficial partnerships with other city organizations and local government agencies. These partnerships further the capacity of our work and allow us to expose our students to even more services and experiences.

Access Youth has proven success at H.D. Woodson and Ballou High Schools and is looking to expand our impact to a third high school. Our students are three times less likely to become truant than their peers and 75 percent avoid future suspensions and arrests for similar offenses. Our approaches are evidence-based and trauma-informed, which means our next step is to serve more students in the District of Columbia.

Financials

ACCESS INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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ACCESS INC

Board of directors
as of 09/13/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Jennifer Rackow

Jennifer Rackow

Perry Hooks

Christine Hill

Robert McVearry

Caitlin Ellsworth

Crystal Rucker

Charlotte Reid