Approximately 60 young people in grades 9-12 gathered with keynote speaker and NBC anchor and reporter Rob Elgas on Saturday morning to kick off their year in the Exelon/ComEd/United Way Stay in School Initiative.
The day’s activities included spirited remarks from Elgas, United Way and Exelon executives as well as small group activities with volunteers, family members and community partners before families had the opportunity to enjoy the museum.
Exelon, its subsidiary ComEd, and United Way created the Stay in School Initiative in 2005 to address the numerous issues preventing teens from graduating high school. Two community-based afterschool agencies have been a part of the Stay in School Initiative since its inception: B.U.I.L.D Inc., serving students from the Humboldt Park/West Town neighborhoods, and Youth Guidance, serving students from the Austin neighborhood.
This year, four new afterschool agencies are joining the Stay in School Initiative. Corazon Community Service in Cicero, Gary Comer Youth Center from the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood, Project: Vision in Chinatown and Bridgeport, and Young Men’s Educational Network in North Lawndale.
The new agencies were selected to join the expanded program because students from these communities have some of the highest dropout and truancy rates in the city.
All six of the afterschool agencies provide a holistic suite of programs for students and their families that includes tutoring, social services, leadership and social engagement, skill-building, and parental workshops. Employee volunteers from Exelon and ComEd will continue to provide one-on-one mentoring to the students during a seven-month long workshop series.
“The data from this year’s report card shows that students from at-risk communities can succeed with the right combination of afterschool activities and mentoring,” said Steve Solomon, vice president of corporate relations at Exelon. “Every year we look for new ways to evolve the partnership and keep the curriculum fresh. The expansion of the Stay in School Initiative this year allows us to increase the footprint of the program and continue to deliver services that are vital to the academic success of the next generation of students.”
Exelon and ComEd have contributed more than $2.8 million to fund the Stay in School Initiative since its creation. The Stay in School Initiative has served more than 15,000 students ages 13-20. It will serve an additional 2,000 students during the 2013-2014 school year.