On the Field of Dreams, Are We Letting Youth Play?

By United Way of King County, on September 21, 2016 | In Helping Students Graduate

Today in King County, there are 15,000 young people ages 16–21 who have stopped their education short of a high school diploma. Without it, they have no viable job prospects.

United Way’s goal is to reach 7,500—or half of those youth—by 2020. This year, we’ve hit the 3,000 mark thanks to your support!

What’s keeping them from finishing high school to begin with?

  • Leticia became pregnant during high school and dropped out once she realized she had zero support to get through it.
  • Anthony had to shift from being homeschooled to going to public school after his parents’ divorce. He was told he wouldn’t graduate on time and should drop out.

The difference could be as simple as having child care, in Leticia’s case. Or having a mentor to help him transition schools, in Anthony’s. Sometimes it’s just bus fare to get from school to work, so a teen trying to help support his or her family doesn’t have to choose between them.

Not to mention GED prep is about as cheap as completing a FAFSA is easy.

Through Reconnecting Youth, young people get 1:1 support. That consistent mentoring leads them over barriers. They find the support they need to prep for and complete their GED and go on to a job, college or vocational training. Mentors even visit colleges with them and help them submit their colleges apps and FAFSA. In other words, youth get the right support and encouragement to get their dreams back into sight.

At the end of it all, having someone saying “you can do this” instead of “you probably won’t” can be a deal-breaker all its own. Your support makes this all happen! Special shoutout to Richard and Barrie Galanti and the Ballmer Group for their million-dollar support of Reconnecting Youth—and all the generous supporters joining them on our Reconnecting Youth honor roll.

Want to meet these determined young people for yourself? See them in this video from our recent Breakfast at Safeco.


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