Five Reasons Why buildOn Students Graduate

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This month buildOn students from across the U.S. are graduating high school and looking forward to college. No small feat considering these students come from some of the nation’s most challenging neighborhoods. buildOn helps get students to college by focusing on 5 key outcomes:

1. Academic Engagement

buildOn increases student attendance by creating a safe environment where students are comfortable learning. Through buildOn students develop support systems outside their immediate family who encourage them to learn and thrive.

“Students not only see themselves as community leaders, but as advocates who are empowered to make a difference in society. This has had a direct impact on our school attendance, participation in class, and has allowed many of our students to be invested in their learning.” – Teacher at Banana Kelly High School in the South Bronx, NYC

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2. Civic Engagement

By engaging students in opportunities to actively improve their neighborhoods buildOn shows them how to create change in their own lives as well. They gain a sense of responsibility for their community and their world, and come to understand that only through education can people lift themselves our of poverty.

“buildOn fueled my passion for education and opened my eyes to the issue of educational rights on a global scale. I hope to work as a teacher after graduating from Swarthmore and later work as an education policy analyst. I now have a more holistic perspective of my community, locally and globally. I am not just a girl living in Philly, nor am I just an American citizen, I am a citizen of this world. buildOn has revealed this powerful truth to me.” – Medgine, 2013 buildOn Alumna from Philadelphia, PA


3. Empowerment

buildOn helps students identify the needs in their community. Then helps them create and put into action a plan to address those needs. Through this process students learn they have power and realize how they can take and maintain control of their own lives.

“Knowing that I have the ability to positively influence someone is so powerful.  Being able to help the children at Big Brothers, Big Sisters is what I value most.  My mentoring relationship is vibrant and very positive.  It feels good to know that someone looks up to me.” – Juan a buildOn student from Oak Park High School in Detroit.

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4. Expanded Sense of Possibilities

Through service with buildOn students meet people from all walks of life, in neighborhoods and countries they may never have traveled to otherwise. They are exposed to new career opportunities and develop skills that are valuable to the future. But most importantly, buildOn programs give students hope that they can create a better future for themselves and their neighbors.

“Being an African American male, people already have a certain viewpoint or stereotype of what black men are like: not being successful in life, a thug, etc. I’ve been told I was ‘bad’ because my dad wasn’t around and that I would end up just being some fella on the street.  However, getting involved in buildOn has made me realize that there is more to caring about what others say.

buildOn has provided me with more knowledge that it’s ok to be a different person, it’s shown me that its not just men of color who struggle with being stereotyped. I can rise above the low expectations that people have of me.” – Student at Prosser Career Academy in Chicago, IL

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5. Personal & Social Development

buildOn emphasizes the values of compassion and responsibility in each interaction with our students. This environment teaches students to respect themselves and others, and students learn that they are responsible for their actions. In buildOn programs students also gain leadership and communications skills through activities like organizing service projects in their neighborhoods, partnering with their school’s administration on student-led advocacy days, or by sharing their buildOn story with community leaders.

“In my three years with buildOn I was able to grow as a person, develop leadership skills and meet people that will remain my close friends after my participation. I am who I am today thanks to my PC for always believing in me and making me do things out of my comfort zone to help me grow as a person.” – a buildOn student from Central High School in Bridgeport, CT

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