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YLS speaker series formalized and expanded

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United Way of Central New Mexico’s Young Leaders Society (YLS) has been invited to expand the Young Leaders Connection speaker series to incoming freshmen at College and Career High School (CCHS) during the upcoming school year.

The freshmen speaker series will become part of the official school curriculum. During the 2018 and 2019 school year young professionals hosted activities with CCHS upperclassmen on the topics of resume writing, finding internships, financial literacy, mock interviews, and professionalism.

These interactions were optional for all students and available during advisory hour. Even as such, they spoke with about 10 percent of the CCHS population.

The freshmen curriculum will be designed over the summer.

College and Career High School is an Albuquerque Public Schools magnet public high school. Located on the main Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) campus, it allows students to complete their high school diploma while earning a college certificate or two-year degree

 We saw impact immediately. Our students were receptive, and wanted more,” says Yesenia Beltran, CCHS Counselor. “Having YLS mentors share personal stories about the paths they took to get to their career was inspiring. They learned that getting to your career is not a straight shot—it’s an evolution. That knowledge helps alleviate the pressure for kids who feel they need to know exactly what they’re doing after graduation,” she adds.

This work aligns with Mission: Graduate’s strategy to provide career exploration activities to students in our central New Mexico region

 The diversity of the YLS team provides a deep source of knowledge for students,” says Selena Hardy, Mission: Graduate’s College and Career Readiness manager. “When preparing for a panel discussion, we put a call out for a health professional – we got a medical examiner – you can imagine how excited the students were,” she says.

Ten YLS members participated in that particular panel.

 Our members are ready to participate and very creative,” says Melissa Fox, United Way of Central New Mexico Grants and YLS manager.  One Sandia accountant created a financial literacy tool that taught students about the importance of good credit, investments, and insurance and another created conversation cards to help start conversations. 

What happens next?

Upon completion of the curriculum this summer, YLS members will take on the responsibility of teaching to freshmen while continuing to work with upperclassmen during their advisory hour. Scaling this work creates an opportunity for more YLS members to participate.


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