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How CAST Helps Close the Opportunity Gap



I want to take a moment to sit with gratitude. We recently completed a week-long leadership trip to Mexico City with our student advisory, young leaders representing 5 of our 6 schools. As an adult who has had the privilege to travel internationally, I am grateful for the gift to experience the magic, wonder, and perspective of being in another country anew through watching our students. Four City Councilmembers also supported this trip financially, so I’d like to personally thank Council Members Sukh Kaur, Adriana Rocha Garcia, Marina Gavito and Melissa Hovdra for their belief in the importance of a global perspective.


In Mexico City, CAST student leaders learned about global migration patterns at the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), about nearshoring from General Motors, and traditional methods of sustainable agriculture in the historic site of Xochimilco, among highlights. One CAST Lead student shared that he felt nostalgic about a history and cultural heritage he was only now learning about, and that word resonated for me. We visited the Mexican Senate and our meeting coincided with a controversial vote on the next Supreme Court appointee.


I am inspired by our students’ curiosity. The questions they pose give me hope for the future. I am grateful to our supporters for making it possible for CAST to implement a method of teaching and learning that relies heavily on real-world projects and on connections to industry, but also to create student experiences that close the Opportunity Gap. The Opportunity Gap refers to experiences and opportunities which help students better understand the world, such as travel, visits to colleges and companies, and participation in enrichment activities including the arts, clubs and competitions.


We don’t talk about the Opportunity Gap in schools as much as we talk about academics, but we should, because our alumni consistently reflect that above all it is the experiences and the relationships they built that set them on a path for success after high school. As a nonprofit, we recently calculated the extra cost for all the experiences we provide for our CAST students at approximately $800 per student. As we close out the year, please consider making a one-time donation here to close that gap for one of our nearly 3,000 students, or consider signing up for a recurring donation of any amount.


At CAST we are showcasing what happens when you believe in young people and invest in them. Thanks for your partnership in building a brighter future powered by young people.


Jeanne Russell

Executive Director

CAST Schools


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