Chicago, Illinois, July 12, 2010—Recent data from the U.S. Department of Education states that less than 75 percent of students nationwide received high school diplomas within four years. This data, along with personal experiences has encouraged Chicago area students to create a proposal that will help increase the number of graduates and discourage their peers from dropping out of high school. They will present their proposal on July 13 to leaders in Chicago and later this month in Washington, D.C. through World Vision’s Youth Empowerment Project.
“We are present ing our education proposal because we want to find the root problem of violence. We think that the dropout rate directly relates to youth violence,” said Bria Sawyer, student delegate from Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.
Sawyer, along with thirteen Chicago area youth and about 100 students from across the nation are participating in World Vision’s Youth Empowerment Project. Chicago delegates will first present their proposal to local leaders on July 13 and will then join forces in Washington, D.C. on July 17-22 to share their messages and ideas for change with their respective political leaders.
Each teen will have completed a 20-week, in-depth local youth leadership and mentoring training series. The training allows teens to talk with their peers about the problems in each of their communities and come to a conclusion and solution for the problems to present to their respective government officials at the Youth Empowerment Summit.
This year the Chicago teens have chosen to focus their efforts on education because they see it as the root to violence. Specifically they are recommending an increase of social support such as after-school programs, a better budget for books and supplies, and an anonymous youth survey to be done at each school so the educators can receive student feedback.
This is the fourth year Chicago students will be participating in the Youth Empowerment Summit. In the past, delegates have met with Congressman Bobby Rush, current President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott.