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Our Year in Review & Student Testimonial

By August 1, 2017 January 13th, 2020 No Comments

August 2017 | Our Year in Review
Thanks to all of our dedicated staff, board, and supporters, we accomplished a lot last school year! If you’ve been following us on social media, then you’ve seen how busy we’ve been, and how much fun we’ve been having engaging and empowering youth through our hands-on environmental science program! Every year, Austin Youth River Watch transforms and inspires 120 high-school students through environmental education, community engagement, and adventure. As a result of our work, youth are better prepared to create positive outcomes for themselves and environmental conditions are improved, ensuring a better future for all. Nearly all our River Watchers are defined as “at-risk” by Texas Education Agency Code, which means they are “at-risk” of not graduating. Most of our program participants are economically disadvantaged (71%), and 93% of our students come from ethnic minority backgrounds. In order to retain this population and best serve their needs we provide: full transportation, often the #1 barrier for the underserved; healthy food, to alleviate nutrition access issues; and modest participation stipends, to better enable those who have to work afterschool to help support their household to be in our educational program.
This infographic summarizes the outcomes we achieved this past program year, from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

All of these statistics and data points translates into some compelling results… Not all River Watchers come into the program confident in their scientific skills or knowledge, nor do all of them come to us with initial interests in STEM. Yet after one year of participation, 97% report greater knowledge of environmental issues, 89% say they are more aware of the choices they make, 89% report greater confidence with science, and 86% learned about new environmental and STEM careers. Since our founding in 1992, nearly 100% of our students have graduated high school and 60% of our most recent graduating seniors have chosen to pursue STEM fields. Students report that having their River Watch “family” are among the most important things helping them feel motivated to stay in school and pursue their goals. In this video below, one of our recent graduates shares what River Watch means to him!