COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Two powerhouse organizations are teaming up to help thousands of Ohio youth prepare for college and career success. Leading energy supplier Direct Energy will be a leading sponsor of Power Hour, the Boys & Girls Clubs' after-school academic support program in seven locations across the state. Direct Energy and Boys & Girls Clubs announced the sponsorship today at the Statehouse before an audience of legislators.
Direct Energy becomes the Boys & Girls Clubs' first statewide corporate sponsor in Ohio. The company's $100,000 donation over two years will help sustain and expand valuable homework-help programs at seven clubs throughout Ohio. During the Power Hour from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., adult volunteers and staff members give club members extra support to build reading and math skills. In addition to Direct Energy's financial donation, many company employees will become volunteer mentors for club members who range from six to 18 years of age. Approximately 10,000 Ohio youth ages six to 18 will benefit from Direct Energy's investment.
"Boys & Girls Clubs are grateful to Direct Energy for the company's generous gift to Power Hour. By creating opportunities for interaction with adult role models, Direct Energy is helping to improve our young people's academic performance and instill confidence, hope and empowerment among the young people we serve," said Rebecca Asmo, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus.
Asmo noted that in the areas served by Direct Energy and Boys & Girls Clubs, high school dropout rates can be as high as 50 percent.
Rob Comstock, vice president and general manager, Direct Energy Residential, said, "Direct Energy is proud to sponsor the premier youth-serving organizations in Ohio to help young people imagine and realize bright futures, starting with a high school diploma."
"We believe that adult mentors can change a child's life. All young people need to be connected with at least one caring adult who creates expectations to graduate from high school, earn a college degree or certificate and make positive choices that build strong minds, bodies and spirits," Comstock told the assembly.
Direct Energy is one of the largest competitive retailers in North America of electricity and natural gas with six million customer relationships. Over the past 12 years, the company has expanded its footprint in Ohio. The company sees opportunities for future growth as the state moves toward a more competitive energy landscape that will lower residential and commercial energy costs and introduce innovative products and services.
Improving communities is one component of Direct Energy's investment in Ohio. Comstock said, "Like Boys & Girls Clubs, Direct Energy believes in the principles of competition and community involvement. By helping young people reach their full potential as caring and responsible citizens, we can ensure the future success and safety of communities where our customers and associates live."
Asmo said that Boys & Girls Clubs and corporate sponsors like Direct Energy must be engaged in programs like Power Hour that support academic success and positive behaviors.
"Power Hour makes it possible for at-risk children to achieve academic success so that they can compete in today's marketplace," Asmo said.
To ensure a prosperous state, Ohio Gov. John Kasich has made college completion a state priority. Thirty-seven states are ahead of Ohio in the number of students who earn their degree or credential.
Direct Energy's support of Power Hour will benefit young people attending Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati, Greater Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, the Western Reserve (Akron), and Youngstown.
Also participating in the announcement were: Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor; State Rep. Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus), board member of Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus; State Sen. Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton), chair, Senate Finance Committee; State Rep. Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster), chair, House Finance and Appropriations Committee; Lawrence Funderburke, retired NBA star and Boys & Girls Club of Columbus alumnus; and Stephanie Simon, Ohio Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year.
About Boys & Girls Clubs
Great futures start here. For more than a century, Boys & Girls Clubs across the country have provided hope and opportunity for disadvantaged youth. The Boys & Girls Clubs' mission is, "to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens." Boys & Girls Clubs provide: a safe place; ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals; and life-enhancing programs aimed at academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In Ohio, over 43,600 youth are served each year in 45 Club sites across the state, with 3,835 members attending per day.
About Direct Energy
Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers with more than 6 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE :CNA ), one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 46 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and 10 provinces in Canada.
In Ohio, Direct Energy sponsors the Volunteer Citizen of the Year Awards in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton, and through its company Airtron contributes to Heat the Town, an annual event in Columbus that provides free furnace inspections to seniors and disabled residents.
SOURCE Direct Energy