DENVER, Sept. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- City Year, a national organization that unites young people for a year of service in high-need urban schools, held its Opening Day ceremony in Denver today, kicking off its inaugural year of service in Denver public schools. Denver is City Year's newest site, marking the 21st city its AmeriCorps members serve in the U.S. Corps members will serve as tutors, mentors, and role models in five Denver public schools this year.
Congresswoman Diana DeGette, Lt. Governor Joseph Garcia, Mayor Michael Hancock and others joined Jeff Park, Executive Director of City Year Denver, and 50 local corps members at Civic Center Park to kick-off the inaugural service year.
"As someone who has been a public servant for many years, I am continuously inspired by people who dedicate their time to serve others. These young people have already mentioned that they are City Year and demonstrate spirit, discipline, purpose and pride," said Congressman DeGette. "I encourage these corps members to walk in the shoes and lean on the shoulders of the thousands of corps members who have served before them as they embark on this amazing journey."
"We are proud to have City Year in Denver to partner with Denver Public Schools to address the dropout crisis," said Mayor Michael Hancock from the steps of Civic Center Park's Greek Amphitheater. "The City looks forward to seeing the results that will undoubtedly come from these young leaders who will serve as role models, tutors and mentors to students who are struggling. These Corps Members have dedicated one year of full time service in our schools to ensure our students are in school and on track to graduation."
"This year of service – YOUR year of service – will serve as a model for generations to come. Thank you for answering the call of service, and thank you for including Comcast in that journey with you," Richard Jennings, Regional Vice President from Comcast, told Denver's corps of 50 AmeriCorps members. Comcast sponsors Opening Day at all 21 City Year locations.
In 21 communities across the United States and through two international affiliates in London and Johannesburg, these diverse young leaders help turn around high-need schools and keep students in school and on track to graduation by working to improve their attendance, behavior and course performance.
"We are proud to welcome City Year Denver as the 22nd U.S. site of City Year, and its 50 corps members to our national corps that is today 2000 strong, helping students and schools succeed," said City Year Co-Founder and national CEO, Michael Brown. In 2009, with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Brown announced In School & On Track: A National Challenge, a campaign to address the nation's high school dropout crisis and turn around low performing schools by scaling City Year programs nationwide.
In 2010, 90% of 3rd through 5th grade students tutored by City Year improved raw literacy scores. As a result of City Year's attendance support initiatives, 55% of 6th through 9th grade students who were off track in attendance were back on track in 2010. And 90 percent of ninth graders working with corps members agreed that City Year helped them understand the class content better.
"We're honored to be serving in five Denver schools, partnerships that would not be possible without the support of the Denver Public School System, the local Denver business community, and the founding corps and staff," said Jeff Park, Executive Director of City Year Denver. "Here's to an impactful first year, keeping students in school and on track."
High school dropouts are three times more likely than college graduates to be unemployed and eight times more likely to be incarcerated than high school graduates. In Denver, just 51.8% of students graduate high school on time. City Year corps members help keep students in school and on track to graduate. Learn more at cityyear.org.
About City Year: City Year is an education-focused, nonprofit organization founded in 1988 that partners with public schools to provide full-time targeted intervention for students most at risk of dropping out. In more than 20 communities across the United States and through two international affiliates, our teams of young AmeriCorps leaders support students by focusing on attendance, behavior, and course performance through in-class tutoring, mentoring, and after school programs that keep kids in school and on track to graduate.
SOURCE City Year