PHILADELPHIA, March 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), architect of GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), the decade-long national success story that prepares low-income students for college, will participate in a special Philadelphia celebration of GEAR UP Family Night at the 76ers game at the Wells Fargo Center Friday, March 9.
Nationally, GEAR UP has served 12 million students in 49 states and several U.S. territories with almost $4 billion in federal resources since Fattah won enactment of the program in 1998. A video chronicling the story of GEAR UP's creation can be found HERE. The nation's most successful college readiness program also serves as a model for efforts to prepare students for college in other nations. President Obama's proposed budget includes $303 million to continue GEAR UP.
Philadelphia and other communities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have received $57 million to provide GEAR UP programming since 1999. There are grants that serve students and school districts statewide, and partnership grants have been awarded to Philadelphia, Lancaster and Lewisburg.
On Friday night, Fattah will join students and staff of GEAR UP Philadelphia for GEAR UP Family Night activities before, during and after the Sixers' NBA game against the Utah Jazz – tipoff at 7:05 p.m. Some of GEAR UP's best and brightest students will be recognized throughout the evening. The fun-filled and informative evening for up to 2,500 GEAR UP students and caregivers is an outgrowth of GEAR UP Philadelphia's partnership with the Sixers.
"I've been coast to coast and border to border – and all across Philadelphia -- to raise the profile for this much needed program that improves the life chances and nurtures the dreams of students from low income and under-served backgrounds," Fattah said.
"Many of these youngsters, as early as sixth grade, attend schools in the inner city or rural communities that are short of the resources they need for a full, life-advancing educational experience," Fattah said. "GEAR UP provides an opportunity for these young people to compete for excellence and career advancement with students from the wealthiest suburban districts.
"This is energizing work for me," Fattah said. "There is nothing as fulfilling as meeting these bright young people and telling them yes, you can compete, yes, you can succeed, and if you work hard you will attain a college education with all its rewards and challenges."
Fattah has spoken at GEAR UP events and rallies at numerous Philadelphia locations including South Philadelphia and Overbrook High Schools, Shoemaker Middle School and the Philadelphia Art Museum. President Bill Clinton visited Philadelphia in 1999 to highlight the program, a priority of his Administration.
Since President Clinton signed GEAR UP into law in 1998, Fattah has been a tireless advocate for the program and a guardian of its funding through the Congressional Appropriations process. Fattah has traveled frequently to meet GEAR UP students and staff, address national and regional conferences and showcase this exceptional program. His GEAR UP itinerary in just the last few years has included visits with students in California, New York, Oregon, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Illinois, Kansas and New England.
GEAR UP is a program administered by the U.S. Department of Education to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. It involves counseling, background information on what to expect at college, briefings for parents, and college scholarships for low-income students. In many cases it impacts students who never considered that college was within reach.
GEAR UP provides six-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools, concentrating on an entire cohort of students starting in sixth or seventh grade in qualifying schools, and following those classes of students through high school graduation.
SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah