The project will enable 30 at-risk youth attending Jefferson Elementary School to participate in the Everyday Leadership program. All of Jefferson's students come from low-income families. Approximately 30% of their parents do not speak English. Because of these conditions, Jefferson's students are at significant risk of dropping out and not obtaining post-high school training.
If these students fail to graduate or achieve post-high school training, they will likely be unprepared for the workplace and become part of the breeding ground for the social and economic issues facing our communities. A Northeastern University study found that high school dropouts comprise over 80% of incarcerated populations. Because of their low earning potential, they frequently become dependent on public resources, costing taxpayers $292,000 over the course of their lives (May 30, 2014).
Our communities unskilled workforce is a serious problem. Idaho's graduation rate rests at 79.7%, lower than all but ten states (Stebbins and Frohlich, 2018. 24/7 Wall Street). Furthermore, 58% of our workforce (ages 25 to 34) lack post-high school certificates or degrees (Idaho Statesman, April 9, 2017). Our lack of preparation for the future is a problem we cannot ignore.
Everyday Leadership is a collaborative effort formed to provide low-income 5th and 6th grade youth with the skills and confidence they need to graduate and attain post-high school educations. Everyday Leadership targets fifth and sixth grade students because these youth are at a "gateway" where students with low self-esteem and poor academics are nineteen times more likely to dropout of school as their peers (United Way of Treasure Valley, 2011 Assessment). Low-income youth are especially at risk.
Collaborators are (1) the principal and teachers at Jefferson Elementary, (2) the YMCA, (3) the Boise School District, (4) parents and (5) the Rotary Club of Boise Sunrise. Approximately 10 Boise Sunrise Rotarians will serve as school liaisons, speakers, and camp assistants.
Everyday Leadership is a yearlong program consisting of
• thirteen biweekly, after-school sessions. Games, discussions, skits, and speakers are used to impart life skills such as leadership, teamwork, communication, cooperation, conflict resolution, decision making.
• two community service projects, and
• a three-day leadership camp.
The program has proven to be highly effective. Principal, parents, and instructors report positive changes in participants' personal behaviors. Some have noticed that they are positively influencing the behaviors of other students. Grades have improved for over 60% of the participants, with all the students achieving GPAs greater than 2.5. Attendance has increased, and the number of participants involved in disciplinary actions has dropped.