What We Know
A recent report lamented the achievement of African-American males in the United States – or lack thereof – as a “national catastrophe.”
The study states that African-American males continue to perform lower than their peers throughout the country, no matter what the measure. One specific area pointed out in the study is education.
African-American males are nearly twice as likely to drop out of high school as white males. As a result, the unemployment rate among black males ages 20 and over is twice as high as the unemployment rate among white males of the same age.
A 2003 study of the region showed that 59 percent of African-American males entering their first year of high school in the 9th grade wouldn’t be enrolled four years later. These students, many of whom have no positive male role models in their lives, drop out before completing their studies and earning their diplomas.
Research tells is that each student who drops out of high school costs our society $260,000 (Riley & Peterson, 2008) in lost earnings, taxes and productivity. Additional financial and social costs may also include delinquency, prison, teenage pregnancies, food stamps and Medicaid.
High school graduates, on the other hand, provide both economic and social benefits to society. In addition to earning higher wages, which results in attendant benefits to local, state and national economic conditions, high school graduates live longer (Muennig, 2005), are less likely to be teen parents (Haveman et al., 2001) and are more likely to raise healthier, better-educated children. In fact, children of parents who graduate from high school are themselves far more likely to graduate from high school than the children of parents without a high school degree (Wolfe & Haveman, 2002). High school graduates are also less likely to commit crimes (Raphael, 2004), rely on government health care (Muennig, 2005) or use other public services, such as food stamps or housing assistance (Garfinkel et al., 2005). Additionally, high school graduates engage in civic activity, including voting and volunteering in their communities, at higher levels (Junn, 2005).
Each child who enters our program is welcomed with respect – and the affirmation that they are special in this world and possess the ability to make a difference in the lives of others, as well as their own. Through instruction and mentoring, we provide the tools that we believe have the potential to transform the lives of these children. Held in a college setting, students begin with a campus tour and learn how to plan for higher education. The multi-day camp program includes curricula in leadership training, self-expression workshops, nutrition, financial literacy, team building, and much more, all the while creating lifelong relationships among peers and mentors.