For Immediate Release
Date: Sept. 17, 2014
Over 250 local leaders, educators, faith-based organizations, parents, students and community members convened yesterday for a community conversation focused on improving afterschool learning opportunities for middle school youth in Savannah. Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson led the event at the Savannah Trade and Convention Center, which was organized with help from the National League of Cities, America’s Promise Alliance and the U.S. Department of Education. The community conversation’s goal was to discuss the quality, quantity and access to afterschool learning opportunities for the city’s middle school students. Mayor Jackson announced the formation of a taskforce to further address this issue by conducting a review of afterschool opportunities in the city, creating a program locator for parents and youth to find programs, and organizing meetings with local philanthropies and businesses to discuss ways to support increased afterschool programming.
“I am thrilled to see so many in our community come together for our young people and I’m thankful for the assistance provided by our partner agencies. We have a responsibility to address the needs and concerns of our children, from their learning opportunities to extracurricular activities to healthcare. We must support the whole child and this is why we’re here,” said Mayor Edna Jackson. “And it’s not too late for the rest of our community to get involved as we create the task force and action plan from ideas generated today. This is not something we’re going to let sit on the shelf. We’re going to make a difference by working together.”
This event is in conjunction with #Choices, the America’s Promise Alliance’s GradNation Community Summit in Savannah, to be held on Tuesday, September 23. The Summit, which is part of the GradNation Campaign to raise the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020, will focus on the needs of middle school students, working directly with youth and their parents to provide resources that will help them successfully navigate through school towards high school graduation and beyond. Registration is still open for this event at savannahga.gov/choices.
Savannah’s community conversation was one of a series of similar events held around the country resulting from a memorandum of understanding signed by the National League of Cities and the Department of Education in March. The conversations focus on early childhood education, afterschool learning and postsecondary success, and explore ways that cities are working to close the achievement gap and increase student outcomes, including non-academic outcomes such as social-emotional skills.
The GradNation Community Summit on September 23, co-sponsored by America’s Promise Alliance, is part of 100 that will be held around the country through 2016. Each community hosting a summit uses its convening to create greater awareness, engagement and coordinated action around increasing high school graduation rates — all leading to better outcomes for local young people.
About the National League of Cities
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. www.nlc.org
About America’s Promise Alliance
America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest partnership dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. We bring together more than 400 national organizations representing nonprofit groups, businesses, communities, educators and policymakers. Through our GradNation campaign, we mobilize Americans to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. Building on the legacy of our founding chairman General Colin Powell, America’s Promise believes the success of young people is grounded in the Five Promises—Caring Adults, Safe Places, A Healthy Start, Effective Education, and Opportunities to Help Others. For more information, visit AmericasPromise.org.