Story and photos provided Matthew Foster
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (RMYC) provides comprehensive life skills and workforce development training to youth and young adults across north and central New Mexico. Corpsmembers work on a wealth of conservation and education projects in partnership with all levels of government and community organizations.
RMYC also operates the Learning Lab from the Upper Rio Grande program office in Taos. The Learning Lab is an alternative middle school that offers enhanced emotional support to students who are navigating the juvenile justice system due to truancy, substance abuse or other disruptive behaviors and traumatic experiences that prevent their full emotional development and academic achievement. The Learning Lab serves up to 16 youth per year.
The funding that the organization receives supports the students’ academic curriculum and activities within the community, which give them hope and inspiration in the classroom and outside of school.
Many students at the Learning Lab have experienced things at home and in the community that no person should ever have to endure. The staff at the Learning Lab offer them the emotional support and social activities they need to feel more prepared for their academic assignments.
"It’s unfair to expect students to focus on their math assignment when they are learning to cope with trauma. Our staff creates a nurturing environment where all students are still accountable for their behavior but also get the emotional support they need to cope with the traumatic experiences at home and in the community," said Matthew Foster, RMYC Development Director.
“Support from the LANL Foundation is critical to the success of the Learning Lab.”