More than 30 local teens were honored June 12 as part of a new program by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stanislaus County to help eighth- and ninth- graders move successfully into high school and then graduate on time. The program is made possible through a $40,000 grant from the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens.
At a celebration and dance at Somerset Middle School, the students were recognized for their accomplishments so far and for their pledges to go on and complete high school on schedule, according to Jamilah Barnes, program director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stanislaus County. Families were part of the gathering because they are so key to students’ success.
The students completed their studies at Somerset, Ustach and Savage middle schools and Mark Twain Junior High. They are entering Beyer, Enochs and other Modesto high schools later this summer.
The grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stanislaus County is part of a new five-year partnership between the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens and Boys & Girls Clubs of America that is expected to raise $30 million to support more teenagers and improve America’s high school graduation rate. An estimated one in four American students does not graduate from high school on time.
Locally, the partnership with the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens will help entering freshmen transition into high school with the tools and mindset needed to excel in high school and beyond. The teen participants will have opportunities to:
• Participate in high school workshops and coaching/mentoring programs;
• Gain access to an online community for peer support;
• Meet with local mentors;
• Learn about the college experience with visits to trade schools, colleges and universities across the country; and
• Attend career preparation and course planning sessions.
“We’ve met some truly amazing young men and women in our community that have worked so hard to get to this point,” Barnes said of the recent eighth-grade graduates. “We appreciate the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens for recognizing our new grads and committing to our future ones through the foundation’s long-term support right here in Stanislaus County.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Stanislaus County became a not-for–profit 501(c)(3) organization in March 2013 and in August began operations at Sylvan and C.F. Brown Elementary Schools in the Sylvan Union School District. More than 200 children participated in the clubs during the school year. The summer program is under way at Somerset Middle School and in August a year-round program will begin.