On Sunday, August 12, 2012, the D2 Center celebrated the start of the school year with our students, parents, youth advocates (Youth Academic Navigators, called YANs) and staff. We started off with a meal of pizza, pop, veggies, and cookies, followed by an introduction to the D2 Center from director Greg Emmel. The D2 Center supports out-of-school students returning to an educational program, and offers elective credit classes along with the Careers & Community Engagement Program, where students explore various careers paths and learn resume-building, interview skills and other soft skills to help with future careers.
We watched a short video that our friends at the Boston Re-engagement Center shared with us, showing several of their students sharing their stories, challenges and successes in making the decision to continue their high school education. Special guest Angi Messick from Douglas County Probation also spoke on the importance of staying in school. Then YANs Alberto Gonzales from Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands and Patrick Taylor from ENCAP took the floor to ask students and parents to share their experiences, and to ask if there are additional ways the D2 Center can help.
What we heard from parents was that they appreciate the support the D2 Center provides – and what we realized as a group is that working with at-risk youth is a team effort, including parents, teachers, counselors, and especially the student. Without the student’s desire to complete their education, the support system unravels.
Some key learnings from the event:
— High school graduates earn more per year and more over time than non-graduates: on average, high school graduates earn over $8,000 more per year than high school dropouts. A person with a college degree will earn on average over a MILLION DOLLARS more over a life time than a person without a high school diploma.*
— The unemployment rate is higher for workers without a high school diploma; high school graduates find it easier to find a job than non-graduates.*
— Students with fewer than 10 absences per semester are much more likely to be successful than those who miss more than 10 days. Showing up is more than half the battle!
— D2 Center staff and YANs are here to help both students AND parents. Contact us any time with questions – if we don’t know the answer, we will help find the answer for you.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics