PHILADELPHIA, March 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), architect of GEAR UP, the national college readiness program for low income students, will join Philadelphia GEAR UP students, sports and media celebrities tonight for on-court festivities both before and after the 76ers battle the Utah Jazz at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Philadelphia GEAR UP Sixers Family Night program featuring the Congressman will begin at 6:30 p.m., with Fattah recognized for his efforts at 6:45 p.m. Tipoff for the Sixers-Jazz game will be 7:05 p.m.
Half an hour after the game, around 9:45 p.m., the 2,500 GEAR UP students and caregivers in attendance will participate in post-game festivities. Congressman Fattah will be joined by Malik Rose, the Overbrook and Drexel grad, NBA star and current Sixers broadcaster, State Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Phila), City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and GEAR UP officials.
Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs has been a national success story that prepares low-income students starting in sixth grade for the challenges and opportunities of college. Fattah authored the legislation that created GEAR UP in 1998. Since then, the program has served 12 million students in 49 states and several U.S. territories with almost $4 billion in federal resources.
A video chronicling the story of GEAR UP's creation can be found HERE. 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.
"Tonight is an opportunity to celebrate the success of these bright young Philadelphians and to demonstrate the opportunities that are open to them as they move toward high school graduation and beyond," Fattah said.
"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. "There is nothing as fulfilling as meeting these 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."
GEAR UP provides six-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools, including dozens of schools in Philadelphia. GEAR UP concentrates on an entire cohort of students starting in sixth or seventh grade in qualifying schools, following those classes of students through high school graduation.
SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah