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Special Initiatives

American Graduate Day

American Graduate Day logoFor the second year in a row, American Graduate Day premieres live on Saturday, September 28, 2013, from 12 noon - 7 p.m. Eastern on public media (check local public television station listings), marking a long-term commitment to helping communities tackle the nation’s dropout crisis and preparing students for success with a high school diploma.

In partnership with WNET and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Corporation for National and Community Service is working to highlight solutions to the dropout crisis across the nation.

Our efforts bring proven national service efforts to schools and communities where students lack the attention and support they deserve. We connect caring, capable people with students who benefit from their time and personal attention.

AmeriCorps Leaders Featured in Program

AmeriCorps Director Bill Basl (left), Germain Castellanos (center), and Jamiel L. Alexander (right) will participate in the American Graduate broadcast.During the program, AmeriCorps Director Bill Basl and AmeriCorps alums Germain Castellanos and Jamiel L. Alexander will join discussions about how national service can help address this crisis in education. The following is a schedule of their appearances (times subject to change):

Noon Eastern

AmeriCorps Director Bill Basl will join CPB Chair Patricia Harrison in the opening segment for an interview with PBS Newshour correspondent Ray Suarez. Basl will focus on the broader picture of how national service helps improve the graduation rate.

5:30 p.m. Eastern

AmeriCorps alums Alexander and Castellanos will be interviewed about how AmeriCorps transformed their lives, put them on the path to graduation, and how they are now helping others achieve that goal.

Jamiel L. Alexander – AmeriCorps Alum

Alexander was written off as a negative statistic due to the "street life" in Philadelphia and was ordered to perform court-appointed community service in York, PA, in 2001. There he was introduced to and completed the Crispus Attucks YouthBuild Charter School AmeriCorps Program and is an active alumnus. In his position as Manager of Youth and Family Programs at the Crispus Attucks Association, Alexander is responsible for a variety of tasks including managing afterschool and summer programs, children and family education workshops, and various community service projects.

Alexander is a consultant for YouthBuild USA, which has 273 programs worldwide. He is often invited to speak on panels and at conferences about his experience as a YouthBuild AmeriCorps participant and his life’s journey.

Germain Castellanos – AmeriCorps Alum

When he became an AmeriCorps member with Illinois' Youth Conservation Corps in 2004, Castellanos was an unemployed 21-year-old without a high school diploma or any professional experience. Less than three years after he left the Corps, however, Castellanos was sitting on the YCC Board of Directors.

Remembering where he came from and looking at where he is now helps motivate Castellanos. During his teenage years, Castellanos was caught up in gang-related violence and drugs, and convicted of a misdemeanor when he was 16. As he grew older, Castellanos decided he wanted to give back to the community he hurt by starting a program that could help troubled kids avoid the same issues he faced.

Today, Castellanos leads the SHINE program, which helps low-income high school students transition to college. Germain estimates that more than 90 percent of the 52 high school seniors enrolled in the program come from families who have never had anyone attend college. He oversees three staff members, manages a $300,000 budget, and is responsible for developing programming for the students SHINE serves. Castellanos’ transition from being a recipient of services to a provider of services for at-risk youth earned him the Illinois Governor’s Journey Award in 2008. 

To learn more about AmeriCorps, the role it plays in improving education, or how you can get involved, visit our AmeriCorps page.

How you can become an American Graduate Champion

We invite you to take an active role and become an American Graduate Champion for local youth by volunteering your time, commitment, or other resources. 

Join millions of American Graduate Champions serving to help millions of students succeed.

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WNET - New York Public Media

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