Cedar Rapids nonprofit helps students get back on track with school

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 5:28 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Getting students on track to graduate is the mission of Empowering Youths of Iowa in Cedar Rapids. The nonprofit is helping students with schoolwork. This comes as leaders have noticed learning loss during the pandemic and have seen some kids struggle in the typical school environment.

Students who attend EYI choose to do so, voluntarily.

”You know some come in for a couple hours, some come in for five or six hours, and I was amazed how hard the kids work,” Jim West told us, Director of Education at EYI.

EYI started in the summer as a credit recovery program. Now, students go for a variety of reasons. Some are earning credits to graduate, some are getting after school support, and others are working to stay on task before attending an alternative school.

”We fill in the gaps where students are waiting to get into Metro. So we house them here and continue on with their coursework so they don’t fall behind,” Sarah Swayze said, Executive Founder of EYI.

That’s exactly what twins Davashi and Jabran Nickens are doing.

”They actually let us like do longer work sessions and keep doing it at your pace,” Davashi said.

”Yeah and like you take your time and they help you out you know,” Jabran added.

Currently, EYI is working with 49 students in some capacity. Some of those students are working to earn credits towards Jordahl Academy and Iowa Net High Academy in Des Moines.

With growth of the nonprofit, comes a need for more volunteers.

”Maybe even just retired teachers or somebody that would like to come you know just help in the community with the students, getting them back on track,” Naomi Freeman said, Social Media Director at EYI.

It’s something we’re told is even more important now, as so many fell behind during the pandemic leaving some at risk of dropping out.

”It was important to get those students the support they need. Not only the students but the parents because the parents were concerned that their kids were falling behind,” Swayze said.

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