U.S. Corporations Join Administration to Curb School Dropouts and Juvenile Delinquency

Jan 25, 2011

First Lady, U.S. Cabinet Secretaries and National Service Agency CEO launch “The Corporate Mentoring Challenge”

Washington, DC – At the first-ever National Mentoring Summit, First Lady Michelle Obama lauded the commitment of more than 17 U.S. corporations to expand or create mentoring programs that increase graduation rates among America's youth and position them for success.

The Corporate Mentoring Challenge, an initiative led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, encourages companies to launch a mentoring program, expand existing employee mentoring programs or provide resources to support local mentoring programs that help youth gain leadership skills, achieve their educational goals and increase their confidence. Click here to learn more about the Challenge and National Mentoring Month.

"The idea that we have behind all these initiatives isn’t simply to create a series of one-time experiences for just a small number of kids," said the First Lady.  "It’s about encouraging more caring adults to step up and make mentoring a part of their lives. By watching their mentors, children learn to expect more from themselves, they learn to reach just a little higher."

More than 1.3 million students drop out of high school each year, costing the nation billions in wages, taxes and productivity and adversely impacting the quality of tomorrow's workforce. Research shows that mentoring has a significant positive effect of two early indicators of high school dropout – high levels of absenteeism and recurring behavioral problems. Mentoring has also been a proven strategy to effectively curbs truancy, substance abuse and crime, while promoting healthier interpersonal relationships and higher academic achievement.

"Corporations have the ability to do tremendous good, strengthening the social fabric of the communities in which they operate and across the country," said Corvington.  "By launching programs that engage their employees to mentor youth in their communities,  these corporate partners are not only demonstrating good citizenship, they are literally saving lives and helping prepare the next generation of responsible, engaged employees for their companies."

The Challenge underscores the Administration's commitment to work across agencies and with corporate America and the social sector to drive results on the school dropout crisis and juvenile delinquency. On a panel at the Summit, Cabinet Officials Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Corvington highlighted ways their departments are using mentoring as a tool to improve educational outcome on a panel. Every year, hundreds of thousands of children and youth are mentored through CNCS's programs – AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America. In 2010, mentors in over 500 Learn and Serve America programs in colleges, schools and community organizations enriched the lives of more than 100,000 youth – most of whom were from disadvantaged circumstances.

The National Mentor Summit, titled "Achieving Academic and Social Success: Supporting Youth through Mentoring," was hosted by MENTOR, CNCS, the Harvard School of Public Health and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. It marked the 10th anniversary of National Mentoring Month, and brought together federal and state government and civic leaders to develop strategies that leverage mentoring to address the challenges facing young people. Click here to learn more about the Summit and its partners.

Below is the list of corporations that have accepted the Challenge:

National – Comcast, AT&T, Viacom, Bloomingdales, Macy's, Bank of America, Deloitte, Ritz-Carlton, Prudential, Travelers Insurance, IBM, State Farm, Jack in the Box, NIVEA, Great Wolf Resorts, American Eagle Outfitters, and HSBC Bank USA

Washington, DC – Bank of America, Holland America Line, and Costco Wholesale

Massachusetts – Proctor and Gamble, State Street Corporation, Bank of New York Mellon, Raytheon, and MassMutual

Long Island, NY – Bethpage FCU, Certilman Balin, State Farm, and Rivkin Radler LLP

Tennessee – Memphis Grizzlies and Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation

Ohio – AEP

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