STAY IN SCHOOL PROGRAM CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF SUCCESS,
Exelon/ComEd/United Way initiative releases 2014-15 report card, kicks off its tenth school year
Public high school seniors who actively participated in an innovative after school program created by Exelon, ComEd and United Way of Metropolitan Chicago achieved a graduation rate of 97 percent for the 2014-15 academic year. This accomplishment far exceeded CPS averages and marking the eighth year in a row it exceeded 90 percent. This was one of many program successes reported as the Stay in School Initiative presented its “report card” for the last school year and kicked off its tenth anniversary year at The Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier recently.
“The communities we serve can only thrive if youth have an opportunity to succeed, and that begins with education,” said Steve Solomon, vice president of corporate relations at Exelon. “For 10 years, Exelon and ComEd have been working with United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and other effective nonprofits to give thousands of students the additional support they need to finish high school and continue their educations. We’re so proud of what this collaboration has achieved.”
Seventy-five current students and alumni of the program gathered to celebrate a decade of progress in keeping youth on the path to high school graduation and academic achievement. Speakers, including CBS-2 Chicago Traffic Reporter Derrick Young, addressed students, urging them to stay in school and graduate.
Young said, “I want to challenge each of you to figure out what you want to do and go after it. Find a mentor. Surround yourself with the right people. Make the most of every opportunity that presents itself.”
Since its inception in 2005, the Stay in School program has served approximately 23,000 Chicago-area public school students ages 11 and up. It currently serves students in neighborhoods where dropout rates have been among the highest in Chicago, including Armour Square/Bridgeport, Austin, East Garfield Park, Greater Grand Crossing, Humboldt Park, and North Lawndale, as well as in Cicero, Evanston and Skokie, Ill. Exelon and ComEd have contributed nearly $3 million to fund the program.
The 2015 report card reports outcomes for the approximately 365 core students who were most involved in the program and tracks its progress and effectiveness in keeping students on the path to graduation. Other report card highlights for the 2014-15 academic year include:
- 98 percent of students stayed in school and in the Stay in School program.
- 94 percent of students were promoted to the next grade.
- 81 percent of students increased their level of involvement in their communities.
- 79 percent of students participated in leadership-based activities, such as peer mentoring or serving as team captains.
“United Way knows that social, academic and family support, including mentors and internship opportunities for at-risk youth are critical to helping kids succeed in school and ultimately graduate,” said Wendy DuBoe, President and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. “The critical support that the Stay in School Initiative has provided for the last ten years to thousands of students is making a lasting impact not just on their lives, but in our communities.”
Six community-based agencies support the Stay in School Initiative: B.U.I.L.D Inc., Corazon Community Services, Gary Comer Youth Center, Project: Vision, Young Men’s Educational Network (YMEN) and Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.). The agencies provide a holistic suite of programs for students and their families that include tutoring, social services, leadership and social engagement, skill-building and parental workshops.
Exelon and ComEd employee volunteers provide one-on-one mentoring to students during the school year. The companies also run a series of job skills development workshops that provide paid summer internships to 12 or more students at Exelon, ComEd, United Way and the afterschool agencies.
Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC) is the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with 2014 revenues of approximately $27.4 billion. Headquartered in Chicago, Exelon does business in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Exelon is one of the largest competitive U.S. power generators, with approximately 32,000 megawatts of owned capacity comprising one of the nation’s cleanest and lowest-cost power generation fleets. The company’s Constellation business unit provides energy products and services to more than 2.5 million residential, public sector and business customers, including more than two-thirds of the Fortune 100. Exelon’s utilities deliver electricity and natural gas to more than 7.8 million customers in central Maryland (BGE), northern Illinois (ComEd) and southeastern Pennsylvania (PECO). Follow Exelon on Twitter @Exelon.
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 7.8 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com, and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
About United Way of Metropolitan Chicago
United Way leverages expertise, connections and resources to transform individual lives and entire neighborhoods. We advance the common good on both a regional and neighborhood level by focusing on the building blocks for thriving people and communities: a good education, financial stability, access to quality health care and ensuring basic needs are met. United Way is more than three quarters of the way to reaching significant community-impact goals set for the year 2020 for connecting 200,000 individuals to a primary care physician, helping 50,000 underachieving middle school students enter high school on track for graduation, and improving financial stability for 100,000 households.
Additional information is available at www.LIVEUNITEDchicago.org.