New Summer Program Targets Winchester's At-Risk Youth

credit: Flickr

The Accelerated Summer Program to Increase Readiness and Engagement (ASPIRE) brings together dozens of eighth- and ninth-grade students for an unique field trip that focuses on civic engagement.

The program is a new effort by Winchester Public Schools to inspire at-risk youth to aim higher. All of the participating students have failed at least one class in the past academic year, and administrators say these students are deemed likely to drop out of school.

According to Elise Stine-Dolinar, of the United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley, ASPIRE can help them become engaged in their community and to learn what they can do to help others, while staying in school.

The ASPIRE program runs through the end of July and connects students with leaders from local non-profits to learn how they can help others in the community, through organizations like the Highland Food Pantry or the Blue Ridge Habitat for Humanity.

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