He is a quiet young man with a big voice. Avery initially kept to himself during The Center for Youth’s After-School Program (CYAP) at Urban Choice Charter School.
“He started out the school year very withdrawn,” says Lu Highsmith, the After-School Program Manager. “Although he was always respectful and courteous, he didn't engage much.”
However, when staff asked Avery to participate in the newly formed Youth Voice Council, he began to shine. He made suggestions and interacted with classmates and staff. During the CYAP Family Day, the future video game designer almost single-handedly organized a video game tournament, He made posters to promote it, registered students, created the tournament brackets and determined the rules.
“We did have fun – everyone did,” says Avery, one of 115 students enrolled in the after-school program in 2014-15.
“Avery epitomizes everything we strive to develop in our youth – having a voice, being engaged, taking ownership and trying new things,” Lu says.
Avery hopes he can continue to take an active leadership role with the program going forward. Some of his ideas include offering different dinner options and opening up additional spaces for participating students.