Before joining Humanities Amped in the 10th grade, Jaden felt disconnected, like her voice didn’t matter, as though she could do very little to make the world a better place. Looking back, she reflects on how she first felt in Humanities Amped: “I thought it was silly. How could I transform the world, when I could barely transform myself?” Now in her senior year of high school, Jaden says, “I’m a lot different now. They taught me that if you want something to change, you have to change it yourself.” Now Jaden works every day to change the world around her. In her Amped English class, she reads articles and writes a personal narrative about invisible disabilities as part of her action-research project. At lunch, she meets with her Amped Dreamkeeper college mentor, a first-generation college student herself, who helps Jaden with college applications. After school, she works as an inaugural member of the Amped Youth Leadership Council, and in her free time, she attends our Fresh Heat teen open mic, where she moved the crowd in November with her poem about preventing youth suicide. At seventeen, Jaden is connected, hopeful, and confident that her voice matters. “Humanities Amped taught me to transform the world,” Jaden explains. “I did. I still am. And after everything that I’ve learned, I will never stop.”
Can you imagine what would be possible if every middle and high school student in East Baton Rouge Public Schools felt the way that Jaden does? The mission of Humanities Amped is to amplify human connection, youth voice, and civic engagement in public schools. Now in our sixth year, we train and support a network of 28 Amped Educators, reaching 1,000 students in five high-poverty public middle and high schools in East Baton Rouge Parish. Amped classrooms receive curriculum and coaching geared toward civic engagement and youth well-being along with in-class support from our Humanities Amped staff and volunteers. Students benefit from our Forward Arts poetry workshops & events, Dreamkeepers college access mentorship program, fall & spring conferences showcasing student research and community engagement, and our upcoming Educators Rising after-school academy.
We believe that hope is an investment that multiplies. Recently, Tricia Sanchez generously posed a matching challenge. If we can raise $35,000 by January 31, 2020, she will match your donation dollar for dollar, doubling your investment! Every day, we ask our youth to courageously match all that we invest in them. Thus far, returns on that investment look like a 22% increase in graduation rates for students in Amped classrooms and a 20% increase on state tests for students in Amped classes for two years in a row compared to their peers who are not in Amped classes. Most importantly, they look like youth making their own investment, as Jaden has, in the life-long project of transforming the world around them, as well as challenging themselves to always strive to be better. Please visit paypal.me/amplifyhope or the Support tab on our website to invest in our vision to provide every student with an Amped education. We exist because of your support!