Helping All Students Succeed

Bridget speaks with Joslyn Dobson, co-founder of CapCityKids.
Bridget speaks with Joslyn Dobson, co-founder of CapCityKids.

Bridget talks with Joslyn Dobson, co-founder of CapCityKids in Austin, Texas.

In the Austin Independent School District (AISD) in Texas, many students do not have the resources they need to excel in the classroom. CapCityKids (CCK), a local nonprofit organization, is trying to help students who are coping with homelessness, trauma, and other challenges so that they can succeed in school.

CCK funds extracurricular activities and other programs that enhance students’ experiences at school. The organization also offers resources to help kids academically, emotionally, and socially.


As part of its educational outreach, CCK runs a unique internship program. Each year, the organization employs 10 interns from the School of Social Work at the University of Texas in Austin. Each intern is assigned to an elementary or middle school in the district to work directly with students who are at risk of failing.

“The interns do a lot of different things, from grief-loss work to individual one-on-one counseling,” said Joslyn Dobson, co-founder of CapCityKids. ​“They run support groups in different schools for different ages. Most important, the interns identify kids in need and connect them to resources.”

Kayla Richards, a college intern, specializes in the treatment of childhood trauma. Through her internship with CCK, Richards has helped students at several different schools. 

“CapCityKids has really solidified my desire to be a social worker and increased my understanding of trauma-informed care,” Richards said. “CapCityKids provides social-work students with the opportunity to actually make a tangible difference in the lives of individual students.”

Kate Amerson has worked at AISD for more than 20 years. She helps organize CCK’s intern program and connects the interns to schools in the Austin school district. “We have definitely seen an improvement in outreach to underprivileged families,” Amerson said. “If we help families stabilize, then their children can succeed in school and in life.”

CCK is gaining recognition in the community and working with organizations in other cities to help children around the country. “We expand the program based on what’s happening in the community and where they need us to help,” Dobson said. “We saw a need and we filled it, but there’s still a lot more we could do.”

Photo courtesy of the author