BOSTON, July 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, The Walmart Foundation announced a $3.2 million grant to City Year to provide state-of-the-art training to City Year's national corps of young adults who dedicate a year of full-time service to help students in high poverty schools graduate. The grant is designed to increase adolescent literacy and math proficiency in urban middle schools over the next two years by expanding a comprehensive new national training program for City Year corps members serving in those schools. The announcement was made today at the launch of the Walmart Literacy Academy in Boston, which is training City Year national staff and senior corps members to bring state-of-the-art practices into nearly 200 schools where City Year corps will serve this fall.
At City Year's 21 locations across the country, City Year AmeriCorps members ages 17 to 24 serve in high-poverty schools throughout the entire school year, applying the power of national service to help increase student success and close the education achievement gap. Corps members work directly with at-risk children to improve student attendance, behavior and course performance in English and math—which research confirms is a way to significantly increase the urban high school graduation pipeline in America. As near-peers working in schools from before the first bell rings and until the last child leaves the after-school program, corps members are uniquely able to help students and schools succeed.
"With seventy percent of the nation's eighth graders not reading at grade level proficiency, and with half of the incoming ninth graders in urban, high poverty schools reading three years or more below grade level, improving the literacy of middle school students is a national priority," said Walmart Foundation President Margaret McKenna. "City Year's national corps of diverse young adults in service is ideally suited to help address this need. The Walmart Foundation is pleased to continue to partner with City Year to build upon our success in providing intensive training for their work."
In addition, The Walmart Foundation has dedicated $505,000, spread across seven City Year locations to support corps members work in local schools. City Year sites receiving additional local funding include San Jose($100,000); Sacramento($100,000); Los Angeles($100,000); Miami($100,000); Detroit($40,000); Columbia, South Carolina($40,000); and New York($25,000).
The Walmart Foundation's increased funding will continue to support state-of-the-art training for over 4,000 City Year AmeriCorps members and staff nationwide over the next two years through an intensive, year-long, enterprise-wide, standardized training model in literacy and math. The training, which will be provided to corps members and their supervisors, includes customized content to reflect specific district curriculums, on-line learning options, school-based observation and coaching with appropriate dosage and quality assurance. Specific areas of focus include promoting basic literacy skills, such as fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension; teaching strategies for reading academic texts; and motivating and engaging reluctant readers to create a culture of reading for pleasure.
The Walmart Foundation grant will allow City Year to bring its Whole School, Whole Child service model into more schools nationwide. With extensive consultation from nationally recognized education thought leaders and guided by research from leading universities and policy organizations, City Year's Whole School, Whole Child model brings three activities into high-need schools in a unified and integrated approach: targeted academic support for students falling off track academically, positive school culture programming and extended day programming. Additionally, the Walmart Foundation's grant will sponsor a team of City Year corps members serving with City Year Washington, DC at Hart Middle School.
"Every 26 seconds a student drops out of high school in America – and middle school is often where students start falling off-track," said City Year CEO and Co-Founder Michael Brown. "Young adults – who are near-peers to the students they serve and highly motivated to get results – can help them get back on track. We are deeply grateful to the Walmart Foundation for their generous investment that will continue to bring state-of-the-art techniques to help City Year AmeriCorps members have the greatest possible impact on the academic success of middle school students."
With this commitment, The Walmart Foundation renews its National Leadership Sponsorship of City Year, the organization's premiere corporate partnership program.
About City Year: City Year unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, giving them the skills and opportunities to change the world. In communities across the United States and through two international affiliates, these diverse young leaders help turn around high-need schools and get at-risk students back on track to graduation by working to improve their attendance, behavior and course performance. For more information, please visit cityyear.org.
About Philanthropy at Walmart: Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on creating opportunities in education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From February 1, 2008 through January 31, 2009, Walmart – and its domestic and international foundations – gave more than $423 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.