Children's Aid Profiled in First-Ever "American Graduate Day"

The Children’s Aid Society is pleased to announce its participation in American Graduate Day, a live television broadcast set for Saturday, September 22, 2012 on PBS stations nationwide. Presented by WNET New York Public Media and Public Radio Exchange (PRX), American Graduate Day is multi-platform event featuring a live broadcast, radio playlist with premiere documentaries, and participation from more than 20 national partner organizations, celebrities and athletes to spotlight solutions to the nation’s dropout crisis in which one in four students do not finish high school

In New York, WNET will showcase The Children’s Aid Society and the work it is doing on a community level to help students stay in school until graduation.

“Children’s Aid Society is proud to be a part of this national effort to bring attention to the dropout crisis,” said Richard Buery, President and CEO of the Children’s Aid Society. “Alarming data out just this week shows that barely half of Latino and Black men graduate from high school in four years. We call on all Americans to support the work of community-based organizations like ours, and urge them to ask their leaders at every level of government to help close the graduation gap and improve life outcomes for minority men in this country.”

Featured in the segment on Children’s Aid is a profile of the African American Male Initiative (AAMI), a pilot program to help young black males stay in school and achieve academic success, seen through the eyes David Velasquez, a 14-year-old from Manhattan. In this promising program model, a group of 40 middle and high school students—recruited as second-, third- and fourth-graders from 23 schools—receive life coaching, academic support, cultural enrichment, positive role modeling and skills to strengthen bonds to family and community. Rooted in research and guided by expert advisors, the program aims to reverse persistent negative outcomes—academic, social-emotional, health and behavioral—for African American boys by intervening early in their lives and urging them to reach for excellence.

Also profiled is the community schools model at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School, featuring 17-year-old senior Francina Morales. Community schools bring together under one roof essential academic, health, mental health and social services. The model’s foundations: strong teaching and school leadership, rich and meaningful out-of-school experiences that reinforce learning, and health and social supports for students and their families to eliminate barriers to achievement. Since 1992, The Children’s Aid Society has partnered with the New York City Department of Education at more than 20 schools in high-poverty neighborhoods in the Bronx, East Harlem, Washington Heights and Staten Island to reform—and re-imagine—public education.

Video previews of David/AAMI and Francina/Community Schools are online.

Unless graduation rates increase, nearly 12 million students will likely drop out over the next decade, resulting in a loss to the nation of $1.5 trillion in lost wages and increased social costs due to crime and healthcare. Among students who do graduate, one-third need remedial courses in collage and far fewer will go on to earn a college degree. Yet, more than half of all new jobs in the next decade will require some post-secondary education.

The Children’s Aid Society is an independent, not-for-profit organization established to serve the children of New York City.  Our mission is to help children in poverty to succeed and thrive. We do this by providing comprehensive supports to children and their families in targeted high-needs New York City neighborhoods. Founded in 1853, it is one of the nation’s largest and most innovative non-sectarian agencies, serving New York’s neediest children. Services are provided in community schools, neighborhood centers, health clinics and camps. For additional information, please call Anthony Ramos at (212) 949-4938/ (917) 204-8214, email or visit

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