Youth Learning Center

Saint Louis, MO   |


The mission of Youth Learning Center is to provide unique academic and enrichment experiences for youth from underserved communities to inspire lifelong learning, social responsibility, and moral leadership.

Ruling year info


President and CEO

Mr. Bill Kent Jr.

Main address

4471 Olive St

Saint Louis, MO 63108 USA

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Formerly known as

Youth Technology and Education Center - YTEC

Community Focused Development Corporation



NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Solve-Build-Play After-School Program

Youth Learning Center’s 2015-2016 Solve + Build + Play program is providing a unique opportunity for an estimated 70 children in grades K-8 from 21 schools in underserved St. Louis communities to access state-of-the-art technology, gain essential 21st century skills, learn important STEM concepts, upgrade their academic achievement, and develop positive life skills.

The Solve + Build + Play (SBP) program will promote active learning as a way to engage students and positively impact overall learning and academic performance through teaching and practicing the tenets of a growth mindset (e.g. taking on challenges, overcoming obstacles, and displaying effort). Age-appropriate challenges, linked to the real world, will build students’ ability to solve problems, innovate creative solutions, discover new interests, and become polished presenters.

The Solve Lab will emphasize problem solving, utilizing the “design thinking” process used in engineering fields. Students will work in collaborative groups to design creative solutions to problems ranging from business to community issues. The Build Lab will feature a traditional Makerspace – a workspace that combines manufacturing equipment, community, and education for the purposes of enabling students to design, prototype, and create manufactured works. For example, older students will be challenged to design and build educational games for younger students, a process through which they will learn science, technology, engineering, and math concepts while learning and applying core tenets of a growth mindset. In the Play Lab, children will be immersed in exploring the world of big math concepts, engineering, and physics, primarily through robotics and engineering toys and games.

Enrichment classes called STEAM Clubs (e.g. Robotics, Digital Animation) will build students’ technical skills and promote their creativity. Full-time STEAM Fellows will design and deliver the project-based learning solutions while providing intensive support and role modeling for at-risk youth.

Population(s) Served

Summer Discovery Academy provides fun educational opportunities to help students avoid what is typically known as the “summer slide. “ While all of our programs stress literacy and mathematics, the focus of the Summer Discovery Academy is on science, computer science, and entrepreneurship/civic leadershichildren discover new talents and passions by experiencing an assortment of immersion opportunities, from engineering and design to computer game creation and animation. 


Through our mentoring program, Summer Discovery Academy helps our children find their unique talents and abilities by providing access to classes like Video Game Design, Website Design, Computer Animation, Robotics, Video Journalism, Photography, “Learning to Cook,” and various fine arts opportunities (See Ancillary Programs**).


Our high quality standards and requirement that all YLC programs have real-world applications are two important elements that permeate our culture and make YLC a valuable community and educational resource. We help our children understand that they, too, can make more than a living – they can make a life doing something they love!

Population(s) Served

2Degrees is a program that will create meaningful connections between St. Louis teens from under-resourced backgrounds and adults working in STEM fields. The program will decrease the degrees of separation between teens and opportunities, from the known six degrees to at least two. Program goals: 1.) Increase teens’ access to adults and opportunities in STEM fields; and 2.) Improve teens’ networking skills.

The 2Degrees pilot will target high school sophomores and juniors who demonstrate academic promise in core subjects and have financial need. Students and Bridge Coaches (STEM professionals who volunteer to network with teens) will complete a vetting process to participate.

The platform to support 2Degrees will be an online system through which teens learn about and connect with professionals in their fields of interest. The site will direct teens to Bridge Coach (BC) video profiles, including the type of work they do, what they like about their careers, and their academic credentials. Students will be encouraged to connect with professionals of interest during the program pilot and beyond.

2Degrees will host monthly events (Cookies with the Experts) at which teens interact with BCs and complete specific projects. BCs will be asked to host small groups of teens at their place of employment for a glimpse into their workday. Teens will participate in training sessions to help them improve “soft skills” such as communication and professional behaviors, and to learn about different STEM careers. The 2Degrees pilot will culminate with a networking luncheon, planned by the teens, for all program participants and stakeholders. After the pilot, alumni teens will continue to use the website to further connect with BCs. Through 2Degrees, teens from under-resourced backgrounds will gain increased knowledge, skills, and access to adults and opportunities in STEM fields.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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Impact Partner 2012

Deaconess Foundation

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Goal: Increase student interest in and exposure to science beyond the conventional school experience.

Science curriculum objectives:
• 75% of students enrolled in a science class will successfully complete their classes and participate in Youth Learning Center’s science fair during the 2013-2014 academic year, as measured by enrollment and science fair records.
• 70% of students enrolled in a science class will score 80% or higher on their skills assessment at the science fair, as measured by the judges’ project evaluations.
• 60% of students enrolled in a science class will report increased interest in science and/or in science careers by the conclusion of the class, as evidenced by self-report surveys.
• 80% of students will report being more knowledgeable about science concepts and careers as a result of the class, as evidenced by self-report surveys.

Youth development objectives:
• 80% of students participating in the after-school program will demonstrate positive youth development indicators in the domains of positive life choices, life skills, and sense of self, as measured by the Youth Development Survey.
• 95% of parents interviewed will indicate that their children’s future is positively impacted by participation in the Resources for Learning after-school program, as measured by end-of-year parent surveys.

Youth Learning Center’s 2013-2014 Resources for Learning program will take a creative, research-based approach to substantially increasing children’s success in communication arts and mathematics; equipping children to become powerful problem solvers and critical thinkers; providing access to and competitive knowledge of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM); and nurturing self-esteem and confidence through substantial accomplishment. Resources for Learning will meet 2:30 to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, throughout the school year. Student members will be expected to attend at least three days per week. Youth Learning Center annually serves over 150 children in grades one to eight (ages 6 to 15 years) in a rigorous approach to academic enhancement. We are dedicated to serving children from underserved communities: 70% of spaces are reserved for students eligible for the federal free and reduced price lunch program. Students attend approximately 21 public, private, and parochial schools in St. Louis City and County. Sixty-nine percent (69%) live in North St. Louis City and County neighborhoods. Based on last year’s enrollment data, 93% of the students are black/African American. The Program Director will work with each student and parent/guardian to create a Personal Learning Plan, with individualized goals for the year in academics, social skills, and computer/technology skills. And as part of YLC’s new “college for kids” approach to class scheduling and instruction, students will enjoy opportunities to choose courses and participate in individualized learning projects that reflect their personal interests. Through this approach, we anticipate increasing students’ excitement to learn and to explore careers while they develop important 21st century skills. Students will meet with a YLC advisor every four weeks to review progress toward their goals. Students will participate in mathematics and communication arts labs led by certified teachers.

YLC’s rigorous, hands-on approach to academic enhancement within the context of 21st century STEAM education is not readily available in low-income communities. Students are exposed to exciting technology-based academic enhancement activities in a newly constructed building with cutting edge technology. With a small teacher to student ratio of 1:10, our students receive intensive personal attention and develop positive relationships with adults.

Dynamic board members, staff, and over 100 active volunteers bring deep commitment, cutting-edge thinking and entrepreneurial spirit, with strong ties to students and faculty at St. Louis University and Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work. YLC is accredited through Missouri Accreditation, a member agency of St. Louis4Kids, and a United Way Certified Volunteer Agency. YLC is a leader in the emerging field of afterschool STEAM.

Through our innovative approach to learning, emphasizing evidence-based, interactive, technology-based programming and outcomes-based evaluation, YLC’s Resources for Learning program has a strong track record of success in producing measurable results: During the 2012-2013 academic year, 93% of students increased their benchmark scores in math and/or in communication arts (an exciting 5% increase from last year’s strong outcome of 88%), the percentage of students who reached proficiency or higher in math nearly tripled, and 83% of students who completed all three reading assessments improved reading comprehension and fluency by at least one guided reading level!

According to Youth Development Survey findings, 87% of students indicate that YLC has helped them to become more of a leader; 88% report being better problem solvers; and 88% feel better about their future. Given the socio-economic challenges our students face, these are remarkable achievements. Our students’ parents agree: 96% of parents surveyed believe that their children’s future is positively impacted by participation in the Resources for Learning program. Building on outcomes to date, Youth Learning Center is highly qualified to successfully address this year’s program objectives.

During the 2012-13 after-school program: #1: 60% of tested 3rd - 8th grade students with a baseline benchmark test grade of "Below Basic" or "Basic" increased at least one performance level in math or in communication arts by the end of academic year based on standardized benchmark test scores. #2: 83% of tested 1st- 4th grade students identified as struggling readers upon enrollment increased at least one full reading level by the end of the academic year, based on teacher-led assessments and the Scholastic Reading Leveler.


Youth Learning Center

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Youth Learning Center

Board of directors
as of 6/21/2016
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mrs. Judy DeLuca-Ford


Term: Jan 2011 - Dec 2018

Board co-chair

Mr. Jim O'Donnell

O'Donnell Capital Company LLC

Term: Jan 2014 - Dec 2018

Judy Ford President


Glendon Schuster Director

Centene Corporation

Randall Wang Secretary

Bryan Cave LLP

Cheryl Watkins-Moore Director

Community Volunteer

Tracie Gregory-Goffe Treasurer

Buford, Dickson, Harper & Sparrow

James O'Donnell Director

O'Donnell Capital Company, LLC

Timothy Huskey Senior Litigator Counsel

Scottrade, Inc.

Benjamin Conn Senior Vice President

Classroom Library Company

Gregg Smith Entrepreneur


John Steffens Professional Consultant

Moneta Group

Frederick Burdell Vice President, CIO Industrial Automation


Kathy Frost Immediate Past President

Spirit of St. Louis Women's Fund

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes