by Cynthia Round, Executive Vice President, Brand, United Way Worldwide
On Tuesday, United Way publicly launched an ambitious goal to recruit one million volunteer readers, tutors and mentors, because we believe every kid deserves to graduate on time with a great education.
Our nation is fortunate to have some of the best teachers and most sophisticated schools in the world. But the opportunities at our top schools are not available to students everywhere. One of every four American kids doesn’t graduate from high school on time. It’s up to each of us to do our part to reverse this trend and alter the trajectory of our country. We invite you to be part of the change.
In 2008, United Way announced the Goals for the Common Good, a call to action for individuals and organizations to get involved and help improve the conditions in our nation by focusing on the building blocks of a good life: education, income and health.
Starting with a focus on education and aiming to cut by half the number of young people who drop out of high school by 2018, United Ways from coast to coast went into neighborhoods to listen to every day people because we know that these voices matter and have largely been absent from the public discourse on education. More than 150 conversations took place in 40 communities across America, along with national focus groups and polls to add depth to the conversation. A couple of the important insights that emerged:
- 91 percent of participants in our national poll agreed that we as a community have to take greater responsibility for what’s happening with our children, so we can reverse the trend of having one in four kids drop out of high school.
- People want to work together to improve education in America, but aren’t sure what to do. They see involvement in schools as crucial and eroding. People adopt freeways all day long, a person from the West Coast said. How about adopting a school? People say they are willing to volunteer for education (average of 6.5 out of 10) and are looking for organizations that can help create clear pathways for them to act that are tied to large-scale change.
United Way released the findings in a report in our national education Town Hall on March, 2011. The consensus was clear: together we can make real difference in the lives of our kids and in the future of our nation.
We all have a stake in making sure that every kid in America graduates on time. Such a change can’t happen without each of us doing our part. There is something for everyone with the passion and commitment to get things done. You can be a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor. You can give an hour, or a day or a day/week.
We invite you to join in and be part of the change. Start today by taking the pledge to become a volunteer reader/tutor/mentor.
This is a guest post from The United Way.
Photo by Tulane Public Relations