ATLANTA, May 3, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AT&T and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) are teaming up to equip 27,000 students with the resources they need to graduate high school with a plan for the future in college, a career, the military or public service. The new $2 million contribution will continue BGCA's successful BE GREAT: Graduate program and will introduce the organization's first-ever virtual mentoring platform.
Each year, nearly one in five high school students fails to graduate on time in America. To close the opportunity gap and improve graduation rates among at-risk youth, BGCA and AT&T are investing in the technology infrastructure needed to keep kids and teens on track. As a part of this initiative, they will roll out a fully virtual mentoring platform designed to bring encouragement and guidance wherever kids need it most. This will provide opportunities for students to work with AT&T employee mentors in connection with the company's Aspire Mentoring Academy program.
"As the number one advocate for youth, it is our responsibility to help reduce the high school drop-out rate facing our Club teens and provide them with an innovative and inspiring experience after-school," said Jim Clark, president and CEO of BGCA. "We are very grateful for AT&T's continued support of these efforts, and their expertise in technology and innovation will open new doors for so many of our Club members."
During the 2015-2016 school year, AT&T employees will provide between 7,200-18,000 hours of mentoring through up to 90 mentorship events. AT&T employees will offer their expertise about everything from interview skills to mobile app development.
This collaboration is part of AT&T's signature philanthropic initiative AT&T Aspire, which drives innovation in education – through technology, social innovation and relationships – to help ensure all students have the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond.
"These young people are our future. We want to help remove barriers to academic success, and help all students — regardless of location, gender or income— make their biggest dreams a reality," commented Nicole Anderson, Assistant Vice President of Social Innovation at AT&T. "Working with BGCA and engaging our employees as mentors through this collaboration will allow us to tap into these students' passions and motivate them to stay in school and reach their full potential."
BE GREAT: Graduate is designed to enhance each student's engagement with learning by providing consistent support from caring and trusted adults in developing the academic, emotional and social skills needed to achieve academic success. The program uses early warning signs - including attendance, behavior and course failure - to identify youth at risk for dropping out, and increases their engagement at Clubs.
AT&T and BGCA are committed to enhancing the Club experience by implementing virtual learning opportunities and providing staff development. Research shows that when a strong Club experience is in place, kids and teens are more likely to have positive outcomes. In fact, when youth feel that Club staff members have high expectations for them, they are 15 percent more likely to be on track to graduate.
This Club experience is the core of the BGCA and AT&T collaboration – providing a safe, positive, fun environment, within which Club staff and mentors build trusting relationships with at-risk youth, set high expectations and recognize kids for their successes.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,000 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at BGCA's Facebook and Twitter.
About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T's signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring. Through Aspire, we've passed the $250 million mark on our plan to invest $350 million in education from 2008-2017.
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SOURCE Boys & Girls Clubs of America