ConocoPhillips Expands Collaboration with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to Tackle High School Dropout Rates

Oct 28, 2010, 09:00 ET from Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Proven Intervention Technique Increases Likelihood of High School Graduation for Youth

At-Risk for Dropping Out

ATLANTA, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One every 26 seconds – that's the estimated pace at which America's young people are dropping out of high school to face an uncertain future of poverty, crime and failure.  To help combat this epidemic, ConocoPhillips has committed $5 million to fund BE GREAT: Graduate, a comprehensive intervention program built on the University of Minnesota's Check and Connect model developed in 1990, to be implemented in Boys & Girls clubs across America.

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The expansion follows a successful pilot year in 20 communities across the country.  BE GREAT: Graduate is part of Boys & Girls Clubs of America's mission to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. BE GREAT: Graduate targets young people most vulnerable to dropping out of school in the communities with the highest dropout rates. The intervention strategy consists of three components:

  • Mentor–Youth Relationship – A long-term mentoring relationship that is built on trust and open communication, with the goal of building the member's belief in his or her ability to succeed.
  • Intentional Tracking – Program staff monitor the warning signs of withdrawal from school, which include attendance, behavior and course failure, and work with the youth to develop a timely intervention that focuses on decreasing the negative risks while increasing the protective factors through the mentor relationship, problem solving and persistence.
  • Enhancing Club-School-Home Partnership and Communication – Clubs and schools work together to share information and resources; Clubs work to engage parents in their child's education.

"We do not look to replace schools, but close the gap by creating a hope-filled environment where children are not labeled as slow or troubled, but rather afforded access to all of the necessary resources to succeed now while building an even stronger foundation for the future," says Judith J. Pickens, Senior Vice President, Program & Youth Development Services at Boys & Girls Clubs of America "Our goal is to impact youth today for a brighter future tomorrow."

The current expansion to twenty new communities is part of a five-year plan in which BE GREAT: Graduate will be strategically implemented in 95 Boys & Girls Clubs in communities with the highest drop-out rates, targeting some 4,750 young people in middle school who are at risk for dropping out.

"ConocoPhillips' investment in the Be Great: Graduate program reflects our continued commitment to the youth of America. We believe it is essential that young people understand the importance of staying in school, and the value of receiving a good education," said Jim Mulva, Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips.  "Working together, ConocoPhillips and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America can help convey these vital messages, and put our youth on the path to success." 

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America

For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) has enabled young people, especially those who need Clubs most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, some 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs serve more than 4.2 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs can be found throughout the country and on U.S. military installations worldwide, providing young people 6-18 years old with guidance-oriented character development programs conducted by trained, professional staff. Key programs emphasize leadership development; education and career exploration; community service; technology training; financial literacy; health and life skills; the arts; sports, fitness and recreation; and family outreach. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.

About ConocoPhillips

ConocoPhillips is an integrated energy company with interests around the world. Headquartered in Houston, the company had approximately 29,900 employees, $151 billion of assets, and $181 billion of annualized revenues as of June 30, 2010. For more information, go to www.conocophillips.com.

SOURCE Boys & Girls Clubs of America



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http://www.bgca.org