STARS at the Trail: Council on At-Risk Youth

Stars of the Trail: Council on At-Risk Youth

We’re showcasing our Stars of the Trail organizations in a holiday blog post series to help Austinites get to know the nonprofits that are dedicated to serving Austin’s most deserving citizens. Today, we’re featuring the Council on At-Risk Youth (CARY).

About CARY

The Council on At-Risk Youth is new to the Stars at the Trail program this year; one of their board members recommended CARY, and they reached out to become a partner. Most of their students have lived in central Texas their entire lives and have never attended the Trail of Lights. CARY is looking forward to giving these deserving children a fantastic opportunity!

Giving At-Risk Youth the Tools to Make Better Choices

Tell us about your organization: What is its mission/what are you most passionate about?

CARY’s mission is to empower at-risk youth with the skills to avoid crime and violence. We are most passionate about providing our community’s most vulnerable students with the tools they need to make better choices both at school and at home, and to help them avoid the school-to-prison pipeline.

What should the community know about CARY?

We recently expanded and are currently providing services in Manor ISD and Del Valle ISD, in addition to Austin ISD. This is important to note because it is reflective of Austin’s shifting demographics. As affordable housing grows more limited, our low-income families are relocating to surrounding communities. CARY is working diligently to “follow the need” to be sure we can provide services where we know the needs outweigh the resources around youth mental health. We currently serve 1,100 students, which is only 15% of our community’s total need.

How can Austinites best support your organization?

Donating to CARY during Amplify Austin (March 1-2, 2018)

Purchasing a ticket for our annual distinguished speaker gala; past speakers include Piper Kerman of Orange is the New Black, actor Danny Trejo, and world-renowned journalist John Quinones.

Liking our Facebook page, following us on Twitter, and sharing our posts with your colleagues, friends, and family. We provide a unique service that no other organization in the Austin area addresses, and we need your help to increase awareness of CARY’s life-changing services.

What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?

The holidays are a stark reminder of the basic needs of families and children. We look forward to creating a safety net and providing wraparound care and case management for students and their families throughout the holiday season. This can include access to healthy meals, transportation, housing and other services as needed.

How can people help CARY this holiday season and beyond?

We need volunteers for some upcoming events. We are hosting a professional development training in collaboration with Facebook, Indeed, and IBM to help teach students and their parents about marketable skills that can help get them the job they want. We’re also looking for gift cards for groceries, restaurants, and experiences, like tickets to events (Austin Spurs, movies, theater) and anything that can give our students new experiences. Finally, basic needs are always an area of focus for our efforts. We like to have school supplies on hand, including notebooks, pencils, pens, backpacks, markers, colored pencils, glue, and scissors that we can give to students who need them.

What is your organization looking forward to most in the new year?

We’re excited to be expanding to more campuses within Austin and outside of the city. We’re also working to become an evidence-based program and will be honored to be listed in that category on a national level to help increase awareness and opportunities for growth. CARY is focused on community engagement and growth opportunities. The more students that we can help, the better!