Initially, Executive Director Lucas Spielfogel got his start as a mover and shaker while fulfilling his two-year commitment to Teach for America as a seventh grade social studies teacher at Baker Middle School. Soon, he was offered a position by the founder of the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition, a nonprofit organization that acts as an after-school program for academically driven but disadvantaged high schoolers. Wanting to do more for his students, he accepted, and his choice would change his life and the lives of students in our community for the better.
“I was really interested in supporting students outside of the classroom. I wanted to support students with their college progress and the outside-of-school aspects of taking their education and leveraging it into their postsecondary education and career,” shares Spielfogel.
Once a student joins BRYC, they become an official member called a “Fellow.” Fellows gain access to programs based on their grade level that are meant to support the path they want to take after high school, whether it’s going to college or joining the workforce right off the bat.
Since BRYC is all about smooth transitions, preparing your 9th or 10th grader to get every valuable skill they need out of high school by teaching them about self-regulated learning is the name of the game. Similarly, 11th and 12th graders can enjoy a number of resources to help them apply and pay for college and excel academically.
In order to help students figure out what they want to do after high school or college, BRYC offers several resources to help jumpstart career tracks, most notably the Health Fellows Program supported by partnerships with the Baton Rouge Clinic and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana that allows students interested in medical careers to find a clearer path to become a healthcare professional. In the future, BRYC hopes to add career tracks for students interested in fields like law, non-profit management and other fields students may be interested in.
However, BRYC’s mission isn’t all about careers and academics. Lucas and his team have built a niche in our community that offers Fellows the opportunity to build strong, trusting relationships with other members and their mentors. These mentors are trained volunteers who give one-to-one support to students both academically and personally as they move through the programs.
“Fellows are part of an incredibly supportive network of adults and peers. Every single one of our students are paired with a mentor who supports them as they meet their program goals. In many cases, they follow them year for year,” says Spielfogel.
Overall, the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition is a rising star in our community when it comes to giving our students the quality support they need to succeed. For the 2022-2023 school year, BRYC expects to serve 360 high school students in Greater Baton Rouge and support nearly 600 alumni spread across the nation. Lucas and the BRYC team are making a huge difference, and they would love to have you or your child on their team.
“BRYC provides the best college-preparatory support that money can buy–for free. Even more than that, BRYC is a village, a tribe, a safety net–a vast web of resources and relationships that Fellows can count on forever. There’s always room in the BRYC Community, and we hope you will join us,” says Spielfogel.
Lend your aid to BRYC and support students by volunteering, or have your child join in on this great opportunity to get ahead. Look over the requirements and apply at thebryc.org/apply. The deadline for student applications is May 1 for the Class of 2023 and June 30 for the remaining grades. This is an opportunity you won’t want to miss.