CHICAGO, Oct. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Horizons for Youth, an educational non-profit serving low-income youth founded by Benet Academy alumni will celebrate its 25th year anniversary at an event tonight at Clara's Restaurant in Woodridge, Illinois. The non-profit, which enables children from low-resource areas of Chicago to become the first in their families to attend college, will also celebrate the launch of its first major endowment effort, generously funded by Chatham Asset Management.
Co-founded by Benet Alumni and former basketball teammates Patrick Collins and Steve Derks, Horizons for Youth believes that a quality education and a strong support system are key factors for the success of Chicago's youth. What started with Catholic school scholarships and monthly field trips has evolved into a comprehensive program that also includes mentoring, tutoring, an academic summer program and intensive college prep activities. Students who complete the Horizons for Youth program graduate from high school at a rate of 99% and persist in college at a rate of 86%.
Since its founding, countless Benet alumni and former athletes have helped Horizons for Youth grow from serving five students in 1991 to over 250 children today. With a long history of successful sports teams, Benet Academy is perhaps best known for its tradition of athletic excellence. Lesser known is that Benet's coaches also instill the value of service into their players. Young men and women who grew up playing basketball, football and volleyball have turned their dedication and hard work towards young students whose opportunities are limited by their zip codes, and their commitment is paying off.
"When we started Horizons, we had no idea that so many other Benet classmates would get involved and help grow the program," states Collins. "The long history and deep connection between Benet and Horizons are very gratifying and have been integral in the success of the organization."
Most recently, those involved include former Benet football star Anthony Melchiorre and former basketball legend Dave Sobolewski of Chatham Asset Management. Unbeknownst to Collins and Derks, Melchiorre had been following the evolution of Horizons for Youth over the years and recently called Collins about supporting the work they had started. Inspired by the Benet connections and the success rate of the students in the program, Chatham has committed to ensuring the long-term success of the organization by launching an endowment fund to support the student programs in perpetuity.
"All of us at Chatham feel a great sense of duty and obligation to give back to the community," stated Melchiorre. "Benet instilled in us a commitment to service, and we are proud to support these hard-working students who wouldn't otherwise have access to the resources they need to succeed."
About Horizons for Youth
Horizons for Youth enables Chicago students of all academic ability levels to become the first in their families to graduate from college. It is Chicago's only organization providing a comprehensive suite of wraparound services and tuition scholarships for children at both the elementary and high school levels, with continued academic and socio-emotional support throughout college. Over its 25-year history, Horizons for Youth has repeatedly demonstrated that with the proper support, every child – regardless of academic ability level, socio-economic status, or race – can achieve academic success. To learn more, visit: www.horizons-for-youth.org.
Executive Director, Horizons for Youth
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SOURCE Horizons for Youth