A high school freshman slumped in his chair and made no eye contact with the teacher. He wouldn’t talk in class, and certainly didn’t tell anyone what was going on in his life.
After several months of trying to connect with him, a City Year educator finally had a breakthrough when the student began to tear up during a hallway conversation. “There are no magic words that turn a student’s life around,” the educator said. “It takes a steady drumbeat of support and encouragement.”
About 1.2 million students drop out of high school every year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The ninth grader, who made it through the school year, will not be one of them due to the relentless work of City Year.
City Year in Philadelphia is one of 72 nonprofit organizations in 15 U.S. cities receiving grants from the Starbucks Foundation.
Last week the Starbucks Foundation announced $1.5 million in Opportunity for Youth grants ranging from $5,000 to $75,000. The grants are a reflection the foundation’s long history of investing in proven programs that equip young people ages 16-24 with the skills and training required for the global economy.
Here’s a glance at how five grant recipients will use the funds to support young people in their communities.
Los Angeles – Mexican American Opportunity Foundation
The Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF) provides for the socio-economic betterment of the Latino community of California, while preserving the pride, values and heritage of the Mexican American culture.
“This grant from Starbucks will allow our organization to provide our youth with after school tutoring, mentoring, paid work experience and visits to college campuses as well as financial literacy,” said Martin Castro, President and CEO of MAOF. “The outcome of this grant is to assure our youth stay in school, obtain a GED if out of school, and career counseling so they can achieve self-sufficiency and obtain a piece of the American Dream.”
“It’s great to see the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation recognized for its incredible work serving the Latino community in the Los Angeles area. This generous grant from Starbucks will help increase opportunities for primarily Latino youth to develop the workplace skills necessary to compete in today’s global economy,” added U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez. “I am proud Starbucks chose to recognize an organization from the 38th Congressional District which has been an outstanding community partner.”