Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme

BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme ATTACKS HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT CRISIS

Posted in Uncategorized by BGCOP Staff on October 14, 2010

(Oxnard)[October 14, 2010] –Statistically, a young person drops out of high school every 26 seconds, and 1.3 million high school students in the class of 2010 failed to graduate. If these students had graduated, our nation’s economy would have benefitted from more than $335 billion in income over their lifetimes, according to researchers.

To address the graduation gap and the lost potential among America’s young people, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme is joining Clubs across the country to align its program offerings into three major areas – academic success, good character and leadership, and healthy lifestyles. The ultimate goal is to measure outcomes and curb the escalating high school dropout rate.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme is an affiliate of Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), one of the world’s largest networks of facility-based youth development organizations whose mission focuses on serving young people during out-of-school time. Across the nation, Clubs have an extensive reach into low-income and minority communities where dropout rates are highest. The Clubs have a powerful opportunity to help keep young people on a positive educational track, given their access to children after school and during summers, and with their proven ability to exert positive influence when kids are not at home or in school.

“We believe there is a third piece to the education equation that is too often left out of the national conversation. In addition to the critical influence of home and school, the impact that can be exerted during the nonschool hours – including weekends and summers, as well as after school – is a significant factor,” said Richard Elzinga, Chief Volunteer Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme. “We are focused on this opportunity, in partnership with local schools and parents, to help our most vulnerable Club members learn to value education and realize its role in determining their future success.”

>Research indicates that young people who drop out of high school are more likely to be unemployed, be in poor health, be involved with crime, use illegal drugs and become dependent on public assistance. They also are less likely to contribute to their communities in a meaningful way.

The high school dropout crisis is a problem that can be solved, according to Dr. Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins University, who has collaborated with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Just 12 percent of America’s 20,000 high schools account for 50 percent of dropouts and almost 75 percent of minority dropouts,” Balfanz said

“It is possible to identify at an early age children at risk of dropping out of school,” he added. “The chances of changing a child’s path and helping them graduate from high school are much greater at a younger age.”

“The age statistics for the young people served by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme indicate the organization’s considerable potential to help keep them on track early on, when poor attitudes and habits begin to form,” said Tim Blaylock, Chief Professional Officer of BGCOP. “Nearly 75 percent of our members are between the ages of 6 and 12, when we can impress upon them how important education is to their future. Our staff serves as mentors, tutors and role models that kids look up to and respect. Their influence really makes a difference.”

Evidence of Impact

Boys & Girls Clubs across the country have already seen dramatic evidence that a holistic approach, including an emphasis on academic success, good character and leadership, and healthy lifestyles, is effective.

According to a Harris Survey of Club alumni, BGCA’s emphasis on education pays off for youth:

• 90 percent of Club alumni graduate from high school or earn a GED.

• Nearly two-thirds reported that Club staff contributed to their success in high school.

Further evidence of their effectiveness is found in Taylor Penny, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme’s Youth of the Year. She is living proof of the critical role Clubs play in helping young people graduate from high school, prepared with a plan for future success.

The High School Dropout Crisis – By the Numbers:

•One-third of America’s children do not graduate from high school.

• Nationally, 1.3 million students in the class of 2010 failed to graduate with a high school diploma.

• For Latino and African-American males, the rate rises to nearly 50 percent.

•The U.S. is the only industrialized country where young people are less likely than their parents to obtain a high school diploma.

“Everyone can have a role in supporting a youth development program, such as ours, that reaches kids during the out-of-school hours,” said Blaylock. “Be a volunteer tutor or mentor, join a board, make a financial contribution. There are plenty of ways to help.”

The Boys & Girls of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme serves some 7,200 young people, ages 6-18, annually through educational, recreational, health and fitness programs. Clubs provide a safe place to learn and grow, ongoing relationships with caring adult professionals, life-enhancing programs, character development experiences, and hope and opportunity to the youth they serve. Learn more at www.positiveplace4kids.org

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