Our mission is to empower underserved students to graduate from high school and go on to higher education.
We achieve this goal through our College & Career Readiness Program. Click here to learn more about each program.
1) Student Success Class (elective class taken during school)
2) After School Tutoring Program
3) Parent Support Program
4) Continued Success Program
While attending Brigham Young University (BYU), Dayan Bernal, founder at Teens Act, created and implemented a successful college preparation course for at-risk Hispanic students at Provo High School as part of her honors thesis.
Left: Dayan with her first students; each student is wearing a T-shirt from the college they planned to attend. Right: Teens Act students at their high school graduation.
Being able to identify with the frustrations associated with preparing and planning for higher education, she wanted to provide tools, knowledge, and resources to students who found themselves in similar situations. The original course was two months long and very successful. In fact, three years later, 17 of the original 25 students completed their first year in college—students who otherwise would not likely have graduated from high school.
Dayan and Saeko Logsdon (Executive Director at Teens Act) established Teens Act, which won second place in the Brigham Young University Social Venture Competition and was awarded the necessary funds to start a non-profit. Teens Act has been a 501(c)(3) organization since September 2011, with the mission to empower under-resourced students to obtain a post-secondary education.
The results of our program have been remarkable. During the first two year cohort at Provo High School in 2011, twenty students enrolled in Teens Act and maintained an attendance rate of 90%. Half of the students fell within the category of ethnic minority, and 100% of the senior students graduated from Provo High School in May of 2012. The average ACT score improvement was 4 points and the highest ACT score improvement was 12 points (from 15 to 27 points). Furthermore, 90% of our students started college this fall.
Teens Act served over 70 at-risk students and their parents at Independence High School and Jordan High School. In addition, Teens Act served over 30 court mandated youth by partnering with Centro Hispano and the Utah Department of Health. Moreover, Teens Act won the UVU Social Incubator Competition, winning funding and free office space at the UVU Business Resource Center.
We started an approved elective Student Success Class that is taken during the day in all three high schools. As result, we added over 70 at-risk students, serving a total of 91 students that school year. 81% of students were minority students, and we achieved 90% attendance rate. So far, 86% of the students graduated from high school, and some of them are still in high school.
We have also continued to collaborate with local universities to recruit qualified college mentors to help our students in their Teens Act class and with their homework after school. See more about our 2013-2014 school year on our Impact page.
Teens Act received a three-year CNCS grant to hire 3 full-time Americorps VISTA members who will help develop the capacity of the organization through program supervision, curriculum development, fund development, and research.
In 2015, Teens Act was recognized with a Bright Spot Award by the White House Initiative on Education Excellence. In addition, Teens Act became a partner agency of United Way. This will give Teens Act access to additional funding sources as well as other community resources. The partnership will also help us recruit more volunteers and raise awareness about our program throughout Utah County. Teens Act is committed to decreasing the high school dropout rate and increasing the number of first-generation college students in the state of Utah.
Teens Act has served over 400 high school students who were at risk of dropping out. Of these students, 85% of students forged strong relationship with their mentors, 82% achieved on-time graduation, and 60% went on to higher education after graduating from high school. Click here to learn more how we make difference in the communities.
We at Teens Act envision that through personalized mentoring and specially designed curriculum, disadvantaged students will be able to gain the knowledge, resources, and motivation to successfully navigate the path towards high school graduation and college enrollment.
We believe that this philosophy and model will successfully decrease the high school dropout rate and increase the number of first generation college students in the state of Utah.