CHICAGO, Dec. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Four programs working to help Chicago high school students at risk of dropping out of school have received nearly $1.1 million in support from AT&T, the company announced today. About 95 percent of these contributions will support Chicago Public Schools students.
It takes caring professionals and a relentless focus on results to put students at risk of dropping out of high school on the path to graduation. Because of their focus on supporting and motivating traditionally underserved students to stay in school and prepare for their next step in life, AT&T is announcing funding support to four organizations: Mission of Our Lady of Mercy (Mercy Home for Boys & Girls), Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), UCAN and Northwestern University.
These organizations are being funded through AT&T Aspire, the company's signature education initiative focused on school success and career readiness. With an unwavering commitment to data-driven education outcomes, AT&T Aspire has impacted more than 1 million students since its launch in 2008.
"At AT&T, we believe that when we invest in education, we are making our communities stronger, safer and more economically viable," said Paul La Schiazza, AT&T Illinois President. "We understand that investing in a well-educated workforce may be the single most important thing we can do to support a strong global economy. That is why AT&T has committed a total of $350 million to education through Aspire, and why we are contributing nearly $1.1 million in these programs for Chicago students."
Mission of Our Lady of Mercy (Mercy Home for Boys & Girls) will receive $100,000 to support the Academy, Mercy Home's comprehensive education program that improves the academic abilities and job skills for the abused, abandoned and neglected youth living in its residential program. Mercy Home designed the Academy to help its 8th through 12th grade students address their unique educational needs so that they receive the critical one-on-one attention to catch up in class, develop an educational foundation, build their work ethic and a love of learning, and reach the ultimate milestone of high school graduation.
"Thanks to the generous support that we receive from corporate and community collaborators, like AT&T, our young men and women are realizing dreams that had seemed all but impossible to them before," said Rev. L. Scott Donahue, President and CEO of Mercy Home for Boys & Girls. "Most tangibly, all of the high school seniors in our care - 100 percent of them- graduate each year. And true to their mission, AT&T is helping our young people aspire to big things in life. With their help and encouragement, our young people are able to build futures of self-reliance and success."
Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) will receive $300,000 to support the expansion of the Track to Graduation, a school-wide initiative that provides high school students who are at risk of dropping out with tutoring and adult and peer mentors to ensure they graduate high school ready for post-secondary settings.
"AUSL is honored to receive this generous contribution from the AT&T Aspire program," said Don Feinstein, Executive Director of AUSL. "The AT&T Aspire contribution supports our work to ensure students in AUSL schools are prepared for college and career. Positive adult role models are critical towards ensuring students stay on track towards high school graduation and we are grateful for AT&T Aspire's contribution, providing more mentors for our high school students."
UCAN will receive $300,000 to support an established in-school and out-of-school project in multiple schools in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood to help students at risk of dropping out of school due to exposure to trauma achieve educational success. The program uses a combination of youth development services and counseling services, including case management, violence prevention, leadership development, job readiness, mentoring and clinical support, to provide opportunities for youth to develop social and emotional learning skills and to heal from traumatic events.
"UCAN has a wonderful supporter in the AT&T Aspire program," said UCAN CEO Tom Vanden Berk. "We serve youth who have experienced trauma, in their homes and their communities, with a consistent presence, meaningful programming, and unrivaled diversity. UCAN leads a group of over 30 service partners in Chicago's Peace Hub, which reduces community violence and helps students stay in school by sharing the best practices of others in the city and providing data on what works. UCAN's school programs and the Peace Hub have helped 94% of the students we serve stay in school and on track to graduation. AT&T Aspire recognizes how we make a difference. We are grateful and proud to stand with them in support of Chicago's most vulnerable young people."
Northwestern University will receive nearly $400,000 to develop a STEM program for promising Chicago Public Schools students. This contribution supports the planning and first-year implementation of a novel, mentor-based STEM program for underserved ascending ninth grade students in Chicago Public Schools. The program will offer a combination of social and academic supports to keep high school students on track to graduate with the strong academic credentials necessary to attend college.
"We welcome this opportunity to strengthen our partnership with Chicago Public Schools and their students," said Jay Walsh, Northwestern University's Vice President for Research. "We're grateful to AT&T for their investment in these students to help them develop into the scientists and engineers of the future."
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and internationally. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation's most reliable 4G LTE network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile Internet, AT&T also offers the best global wireless coverage, based on offering roaming in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier, and offers the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV service with the AT&T U-verse® brand. The company's suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world.
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About Philanthropy 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. In 2013, more than $130 million was contributed or directed through corporate-, employee-, social investment- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T's signature education initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring.