Central Standard

Tuesday, March 03, 2015 - 36°F

You can make graduation happen!

We can make a difference in the Chicago metropolitan and suburban high school graduation rates. A high dropout rate is a community problem. Students are more likely to dropout of high school when they are uncertain of the resources available to help them and feel a lack of support or little hope for their future. Caring and concerned adults can make a difference.

An independent national research study of the success of mentorship programs directed by The Big Brothers Big Sisters organization shows that positive relationships between at-risk youth and supportive adults has a direct measurable impact on that young person’s decision-making and life. Young people participating in mentor relationships are more confident in their school work, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, and over 50% less likely to skip school. This is a winning combination in the battle to help students make it to high school graduation.

The After School Matters program was part of a study by Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago (links to PDF). It was found that students participating in after-school programs, like those available through After School Matters, fostered new skills, were motivated for the future, improved their school attendance and academic success, as well as increased graduation rates.

How can you get involved?

You can be a “champion” for kids at-risk of dropping out. There are several ways to get involved and many non-profit organizations in the Chicago area who could use your help to make it happen. Getting involved is as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Learn about the organizations working with at-risk children and youth in your community, or near your workplace. Find out what kinds of support are most needed. Some organizations need volunteers and professional partnerships, while others may need your financial support. Contact a representative of the organization to explore the opportunities for getting involved.
  2. Determine what time or resources you are willing to share. Each organization may require different levels of commitment and you should find something that fits your comfort level.
  3. Once you’ve made the choice to get involved, be committed. Your efforts will be valuable to the organization you choose and the young people who’s lives you’ll change.

Helpful website for volunteers.

One Good Deed
An initiative by the City of Chicago That provides Chicagoan an easy way to volunteer. This website provides you numerous ways you can help ensure that all Chicago’s students graduate from high school.

Tutor/Mentor Connection
The Tutor/Mentor Connection website makes it easy to find an organization near you that needs your help. You will find a database of non-profit organizations who could use volunteers, tutors, and mentors all narrowed down by neighborhood or zip code.

Ingenuity Incorporated
Ingenuity Inc. is an organization working to bring quality arts programming to every child in the Chicago Public Schools. They do this by providing resources to schools, teachers, and principals, research and information about the value and prevalence of arts education in Chicago, and advocacy. Learn how you can help.

An opportunity for youth to get involved, Voice of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) is a youth organizing collaboration in Chicago that works with young leaders to create strategies to improve Chicago Public Schools including, changing discipline policies, finding scholarship options for undocumented students, and increasing peer leadership programs.

What else can you do?

Volunteering is just one way to be a “champion” for teens at-risk of dropping out of high school. An important thing you can do to help stem the wave of high school dropouts is to be aware of the issues leading to low graduation rates, know the institutions and organizations that are making a difference and support their efforts. If you do nothing else, be civically engaged and be a voice for what you believe is making a difference in your community. Speak to your alderman and write to your representatives in support of programs that are making a difference. Recognizing the importance of intervention programs as a way to improve the success of our community as a whole, will go a long way in supporting the work they do and the children they serve.

Making It Happen in Chicago!

Several of our WTTW American Graduate Community Partners joined forces with us to bring attention to the intervention programs taking place throughout our city to improve the lives of at-risk children and teens. These are just a handful of nonprofit organizations that need your help to make high school graduation a reality for kids in Chicago. Click the image below to watch their video. Find links to each of these organizations and others on the Resource page of this website.

After School Matters

America SCORES

BBBS of Metropolitan Chicago

Chicago Urban League

Free Spirit Media

Youth Connection Charter Schools
Your Stories
From Teachers
American Graduate
Thanks to our funder and partners:

Central Standard

View all partners