SwitchUp is an urban youth development program of CrossPurpose, endeavoring to meet the spiritual, social, relational, and leadership development challenges facing the youth in our communities
SwitchUp exists to mold youth in Northeast Denver to become transformational leaders of their generation.
Our vision is to see a community of young transformational leaders, who are impacting their family, friends and community.
According to the most recent census data, approximately 40,400 children in Denver are living in poverty. Numerous studies indicate that children living below the federal poverty line are more likely to experience low academic achievement, abuse and neglect, behavioral and physical health problems, and developmental delays. To help mitigate these and other negative outcomes for youth at-risk, SwitchUp will target children and youth between the ages of 8-18, with a focus on northeast Denver, where the city’s highest concentration of impoverished children and youth reside.
While examining the needs of northeast Denver, specifically our community’s youth, we discovered that many assets exist in the form of urban evangelical youth outreach and youth engagement programs. What is lacking, however, are programs that provide a platform for youth leadership development. We desire to prepare youth in our community to lead well in their youth and beyond, as they transition into young adults.
In order to explore their inherent strengths and develop their leadership potential, urban youth have need of healthy support systems, as well as hope and affirmation for their future.
SwitchUp endeavors to meet the spiritual, social, relational, and leadership development challenges facing the youth in our communities, and have identified the following as responsive solutions to those challenges:
Youth Club is a weekly 2-hour gathering for elementary, middle and high school age youth. Designed to build relationships and trust amongst youth recruited into our program, club time is the heart of our programming.
With a 1:5 staff to student ratio, youth club is structured around a group mentoring context. We strive to create a safe space that opens the door for honest conversation and facilitates healthy support systems.
Our Emerging Leaders program is a 7-month Urban Youth Leadership Development program for six-eight qualified high school youth each year. The Emerging Leaders program is a practical leadership training environment that empowers youth to discover their own strengths and grow in them. In addition to one-on- one mentoring/coaching, character development, and ongoing spiritual development through our weekly club program, Emerging Leaders receive a $3,000 stipend and scholarship opportunities, as well as trips to annual leadership retreat and national conferences, and local and international mission trips.
To enhance the Emerging Leaders’ experience, youth are challenged to exercise their strengths and abilities amongst elementary school age youth by becoming peer mentors. The Emerging Leaders are also tasked to design, implement and facilitate their own weekly elementary school youth club program, five special annual youth events/activities and lead in a five-week elementary school summer program. Youth who successfully complete the Emerging Leaders program will demonstrate increased capacity in character, wisdom, direction, skill, and legacy.
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