Project S.A.Y.,will be established in two major cities; Chicago, Ill and Atlanta, Ga. We have chosen these two places to help “at risk” youths because of the enormous need for minority teenagers. We want this group of young adults to have a positive place to go and to feel safe while learning how to improve their quality of life through the programs we will offer and the mentors who will be apart of their lives.
Chicago has been the source of many major headline stories where youth violence and public school children had either been the victim of violence or have been the perpetrators. Many of the victims and offenders are minorities who live in areas with high employment and lower incomes than in other parts of the city. Many of these youths attend high schools in low income areas where the graduation rate is around 50% even though the average graduation rate in Chicago is 85%. The attendance rate is also low in these neighborhoods which hovers around 56 % while the average rate of attendance for all CPS high school students is a little more than 86%.
The percentage of African-American students in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is 45%, for Hispanics it is 41% and for white students it is 9%. However, the percentage of African-American teachers at CPS is 31%, for Hispanic teachers it is 15% but the percentage of white teachers is 52.3%.* African-American and Hispanic students are more likely to have less contact with a teacher of their ethnicity and race more so than for white students, though white students make up only 9% of the student population.
*( Information provided by Chicago Public Schools’ data).
In the city of Atlanta, the minority rate has grown, surpassing the white population in and around the metropolitan area. However, the divide between whites, blacks and Hispanic students’ academic growth is great. The total percentage of children in the Atlanta School System who are low income is 76%. Currently the percentage of African-American students is 85%, whites 8% and the Hispanic student population is at 4%. African American and Hispanic children are less likely to graduate than their white counterpart in the Atlanta School System.
*(Information provided by Atlanta School System)