What is Youth Success?
Youth success means providing young people with the opportunities and support they need to be successful. We know that creating a path to quality careers improves the lives of young people in Wayne and Union counties.
A great indicator of youth success is high school graduation rates. Graduating high school improves a young persons’ economic mobility. With a high school degree, they qualify for more careers and are eligible for further education through undergraduate studies, trade school, or certification. Wayne and Union counties are working overtime to ensure that as many students as possible graduate high school.
Increasing the Graduation Rate
In fact, in 2020, 98.5% of Wayne County students graduated high school, and 97 percent of students in Union County graduate high school. The percentage of high school graduates is impressive compared to the Indiana average of 87 percent. Our community schools are making education happen in 2021, despite some unprecedented challenges.
Every year educators and local nonprofits are working to close this gap with every graduating class. Closing the gap means that every student is receiving the same opportunities. For low-income students, they are 2.4 times more likely to drop out of high school than students from middle-class families. They also are 10 times more likely to drop out than upper-class families. Living under the poverty line can make education much more difficult for young people. Poverty and socioeconomic status are correlated to high school dropout rates. As a result, for economically disadvantaged students, the graduation rate country-wide is 78 percent.
With a 15.2 percent poverty rate in Wayne County and 9.6 percent in Union County, all students must receive the support they need. The correlation between poverty and high school graduation rates shows that students who do not finish high school have decreased job options. The careers they can pursue compensate them less than jobs that require a high school diploma. The lack of a high school diploma stunts a young person’s economic growth at a young age, increasing their chance of staying in poverty.
Breaking the Poverty Cycle
This is a cycle that continues for a generation. The goal of educators and nonprofits in our community is to break this cycle and give students all the opportunities they need to finish their high school education.
This support takes many forms. This could be summer, after school, or different abilities programs. Organizations like Richmond YMCA that help students’ engage their minds and bodies. Programs like this allow students to develop healthy lifestyles and habits. These programs allow parents to engage with their children’s education and also give them confidence in their child’s future success. Allowing students to finish their high school education and continue to higher education is the key to combating poverty in our younger generation. Here at United Way of Whitewater Valley we would love to see the graduation rate in Wayne and Union counties be 100 percent.
How Can You Help?
You might be asking what role you can play in youth success in our community. There are multiple options for our supporters. The number one option is to support United Way of Whitewater Valley. Youth success is one of our focus areas. We are trying to be a catalyst for change in four specific areas, youth success, childhood success, economic mobility, and access to health. These four areas are broad and encompassing. Many different nonprofits are working in all these areas.
We take your donation dollars and invest them right here in our community. None of the funds we receive go outside of Wayne and Union County. This year we are working with individuals and corporations to make youth success happen. Another way that you can support youth success is volunteering. You can volunteer with our partner agencies or here at United Way of Whitewater Valley. Volunteers are always needed and your time makes a difference, find volunteer opportunities.
Impact in 2020
We believe in showing our impact to the community. One way that we do this is through our Global Framework Documents. These show in a simple format the impact that we have had in a year. It is important to highlight the impact in our community and show our supporters how they are improving their home county.
In 2020, we were able to invest $99,764 into youth success. Because of these funds, 6,618 youth participated in out-of-school programs which help improve study habits and test performance. Our partner agencies also had 71 volunteers who provided services to support youth success. 191 employees of our partner agencies also received training to improve programs. All of our supports made all of this happen. Without their continued support and we would not be able to improve our community. If you are interested in making change happen in 2021, visit our donation page.