(BPT) – Take a moment to consider this alarming fact: Each year more than 1 million American teens fail to graduate from high school, according to the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. The consequences of this staggering statistic are felt not just throughout their lives, but also across our nation.
A host of research shows that dropouts are more likely to develop health problems, live in poverty and be victims of crime. The problem impacts our economy as well, costing as much as $209 billion in lost taxes and higher government expenditures over the lifetimes of those who fail to graduate, according to research by the Teachers College, Columbia University, Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education.
“Students do not fall behind because they lack ability, intelligence or initiative,” says Jim Clark, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). “Often, it’s the lack of access to basic school tools and quality after-school programming that holds children back. Access to those tools can help ensure they achieve academic success and, eventually, a great future.”
Now, you can help, too. Through September, BGCA’s annual Tools for Back-to-School campaign offers two ways to put much-needed school supplies in the hands of Club youth. First, take the quiz at GreatFutures.org /BacktoSchool, where right answers earn supplies for Boys & Girls Clubs. You can also drop off school supplies such as notebooks, pens, pencils and backpacks in collection bins at Disney Stores, Michael’s and Staples. Local Boys & Girls Clubs will distribute the donated supplies to Club members in their communities.
“Our annual supply drive is just one of the ways our more than 4,000 Clubs help our Club members graduate from high school on time, ready for a post-secondary education and a 21st-century career,” Clark says. “We are grateful for the public’s support of these efforts.”
To learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of America, visit www.GreatFutures.org.