Colorado Youth At Risk focuses on transforming youth, mentors, & the community as a whole.
Steps Ahead for Youth

Steps Ahead for Youth

Steps Ahead for Youth is conducted in partnership with several Denver Public Schools and is a one year intensive drop out prevention program for 9th grade students.

The program sets itself apart from other mentoring organizations by delivering the following:

  • Both community and one-on-one mentoring
  • 17 hours of pre-mentorship training
  • 3 day launch course retreat in the mountains
  • High ropes course experience
  • A 12-month series of community workshop sessions for mentors and youth

1Step1 happens when the youth and mentor are paired one-on-one. Mentoring provides support for the youth to stay engaged and accomplish the goals that they create for themselves.

2Step 2 is the launch course, which gives the youth an opportunity to examine their lives away from their influential environment and confront past issues. Relationships between youth and mentors are developed and strengthened.

3Step 3 includes a series of community workshops which provide structure and a place to practice the core principles that were introduced at the launch course.

Colorado Youth at Risk has a proven track record over the last 4 years with 95% of youth participating in CYAR programs staying in school and 60% improving their grade point average and attendance.The Launch Course is the foundation of the Steps Ahead for Youth program and is where 40 youth, 40 mentors begin their mentoring relationships. It is designed to create a community between students and mentors through intensive small and large group discussions, team building activities and outdoor pursuits. Both youth and mentors work together in examining their perspectives, learning new tools, being challenged at a high ropes course and setting up powerful mentoring relationships. The Launch course allows students to discover barriers to success in school. Youth and mentors report the Launch Course significantly impacted their lives.

Within weeks of the Launch Course, youth and mentors are paired, one-to-one, and meet for 2 hours a week. The mentor serves as a coach for the youth, helping them stay in school. Both youth and mentors participate monthly in 3-5 hour community workshops furthering the curriculum and supportive nature of the Launch Course.


Touchstone is a program for young people who complete the Steps Ahead for Youth program. It is a program designed to provide the youth with the support and guidance that they require from 9th grade through high school graduation. Youth in Touchstone focus on personal development and their future. Those that participate in the Touchstone Program demonstrate increased personal responsibility, strengthened relationships and an understanding of their personal vision and goals.

There are several places for adults and youth to participate in Touchstone:

  • Career & Skills Development
    This area is a fun place for adults to share career skills with youth. Whether it is sharing your field of expertise, helping a young person to prepare for college or tutoring. The opportunities for youth and volunteers are endless and flexible.
  • Youth Facilitation Training
    Youth have an opportunity to develop leadership and facilitation skills through speaking opportunities.
  • Continued training for Steps Ahead Graduates & their Mentors
    Ongoing Touchstone meetings support relationships between youth and mentors through ongoing training and support of existing goals.