In September 2015 4-H Juntos was launched in New York City to empower more Hispanic youth to succeed in high school, graduate on time and go to college.
Juntos – pronounced “Who-n-toes” – means “together” in Spanish and the Juntos program works to unite community partners to provide youth, particularly Latino youth, studying in grades 8 through 12 and their parents with knowledge, skills and resources so that youth are discouraged from dropping out of school. The program also encourages the families of these youth to work together to gain access to college.
Research shows that Latino youth are at the greatest risk for dropping out of school between the ninth and tenth grades. The Juntos program reduces this risk by bringing together cohorts of eighth- grade youth to support each other for three to five years as they enter high school and prepare for higher education.
The Juntos program is an intensive long-term program made up of five components:
First, youth meet biweekly (or once a week) during school hours with a one-on-one Success Coach who helps them eliminate academic deficiencies, learn study habits, and work towards their academic and personal goals.
Second, youth and families come together for the Juntos Family Workshop Series and then continue to meet monthly to make college a realistic family goal. Program sponsors New York Life will provide financial management training to parents.
Third, youth participate in after-school 4-H Club meetings held twice a month focusing on academic success, public speaking, life skills, healthy living, citizenship and science.
Fourth, Juntos youth grades 8-11 take part in field trips to colleges and other Juntos events like 4-H Career Exploration. The 4-H Career Exploration program provides opportunities for youth to explore academic fields and careers, develop leadership skills via hands-on experience in a college setting. New York City “4-Hers” meet youth from all over New York State.
Fifth, tenth and eleventh grade youth engage in a synchronous video online college preparation course taught by university professors to help them develop writing and critical thinking skills, knowledge about careers and specific colleges, and prepare for entrance exams, college applications, scholarships, and financial aid.
The multifaceted partnerships such as those among New York Life Insurance Company, CUCE-NYC, 4-H, schools, colleges, volunteers and community agencies are what make the 4-H Juntos program a sustainable success in many communities across the US.
The New York Life Foundation encourages and facilitates the community involvement of its employees, agents and retirees through its Volunteers for Good program.
4-H is the nation’s largest positive youth development and youth mentoring organization, empowering six million young people grades K-12 in the U.S. in partnership with 110 universities, including Cornell University Cooperative Extension.
4-H life-changing programs are supported by research and are available through 4-H clubs, after-school, school enrichment programs, special interest & teen leadership groups, and volunteers in every county & parish. Programs offered include STEM education, healthy living, and citizenship and leadership development.