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When Generation United: A Young Leaders Society officially launched in May 2012, it was clear that many passionate and caring young professionals in Larimer County were eager to find a way to give back and make a difference.
In the year since that launch, we have seen that young professionals can make a big impact in our community. By coming together in the spirit of philanthropy and volunteerism, their collective impact is stronger than what one person could do alone.
Why focus on local graduation rates? High school graduation is a major milestone on the path to successful adulthood. It's the single most powerful predictor of whether a young person coming from generations of poverty will break the cycle of poverty. Local communities, states, and the American economy suffer from the dropout crisis - from lost wages, taxes, and productivity to higher costs for health care, welfare, and crime.
Despite the hard work of teachers, parents and other family members in our community, 17% of Larimer County youth did not graduate high school on time. While these numbers are higher than the national average, the charter members of Generation United do not think it's acceptable for the future of our stellar community. One in every six kids - that's far too many students dropping out of school or failing to graduate on time.
Together, generous GU members and supporters have contributed more than $16,000 in the group's first year. Membership dollars are invested in two programs within that focus: Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County and Partners Mentoring Youth.
GU's support of Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County (BGC) has enabled the “College & Career Launch: Giving Teens the Keys to Their Futures” program. This program helped 27 local youth see college as an achievable future for them by funding a local college fair and college visits in Colorado, Utah and Arizona. Many of the participating youth live in single-parent and low-income households, making their likelihood of attending college statistically lower than other students. This program helped them to realize that college is possible and inspired them to plan for their future.
In addition, GU's support of Partners Mentoring Youth has enabled new mentoring partnerships through their “Community Based Mentoring” program. Efforts in promoting positive youth development, such as mentoring, have documented impact in helping vulnerable youth break out of negative cycles such as substance abuse, delinquency and poverty. Because of GU's support, six local youth now have positive adult role models as a consistent presence in their lives to help them overcome challenges in their personal, social and academic lives. That's six kids who are now getting the support they need to build a better future.
“Many youth do not know what they are capable of achieving and fall victim to their individual circumstances, not allowing them to reach their full potential,” said Maria Swall, Development Director for Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County. “Because of these opportunities, they can see a new realm of possibility and goals that they can achieve. They just needed someone to show them that it is possible.”
On behalf of all the kids and families that are impacted by the generosity of Generation United members and supporters, thank you for helping kids in our community see what is possible.
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County