In neighborhoods throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, college — and the high-paying jobs opened up by higher education — can seem like an unattainable goal. Many young people grow up in communities where unemployment is widespread, substance abuse and crime rates are high and many residents don’t go far in school. That’s where local Boy & Girls Clubs come in, offering programs that foster academic achievement and put underserved youth on the path to college and postgraduate success.
In Fort Worth, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant County serves students facing these kinds of challenges. More than half of the young people who belong to the Clubs are African American, and nearly one-third are Hispanic-Latino. At the 11 Club branches and 15 school-based sites, a deep lineup of academic enrichment and leadership programs aimed at teenagers has attracted 15 times as many members as the national Boys & Girls Clubs’ average. The Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search programs provide students with tutoring, college test prep, application assistance, internships, career guidance and other personalized support. Both programs are open to aspiring first-generation college attendees and low-income Club members. Three out of every four teens taking part in the Clubs’ precollege programs go on to enroll in college.
In nearby Dallas and Navarro counties, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas provides high school students with college prep and career guidance through its Collegiate STEPS (Striving Towards Excellence Preparing for Success) program. Collegiate STEPS offers hundreds of Club members one-on-one mentoring, including guidance on applying to college and securing financial aid and scholarships. A series of 18 evening sessions cover practical topics, such as interview skills, budgeting, resume writing, time management and choosing a college major. More than 90% of high school seniors participating in Collegiate STEPS go on to graduate and enroll in college or secure a steady job with a state, local or federal government agency.
North of Dallas, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County works to keep the kids it reaches in school. In Texas, 1 in 5 public school students fail to graduate from high school, and the attrition rate is 29 times higher among students from low-income communities than it is among those from affluent areas.1 With tutoring, mentoring, homework help and other educational support, the Clubs’ academic success program offers students the support they need to attain a higher education. Not only are 100% of members promoted to the next grade level every year, but 100% of all seniors active in the Clubs graduate from high school.
Bank of America is supporting all three North Texas Clubs with major grants as part of its initiative to help Black and Hispanic-Latino individuals acquire in-demand job skills, a pillar of the bank’s $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity.