I was shocked when I learned that one out of three high school students don’t graduate, usually because they drop out. That’s approximately 7,000 students each day, or 1.25 million a year, who leave high school. Experts say that most of them are capable of getting through their classes, but just don’t receive the encouragement they need to stay motivated. Parental involvement in their education dramatically increases the chances that teens will stay in school, but when that’s not possible, even the support of other adults can make a difference.
I recently heard about a campaign called Boost Up, sponsored by the Ad Council and the US Army, that aims to help teens who are at risk of dropping out to stay in school by providing the support they need. The great thing is that you can help, and it won’t cost you a dime! How does it work?
Just go to http://www.boostup.org and click on the button that says “Send Boost.” This will allow you to send a message to one of the students featured or to someone you know who might need encouragement to stay in school. You can even create your own Boost Up video!
Do you know any teens who are at risk of dropping out of school? Here are some of the warning signs:
• They don’t like school. • They think their parents don’t care if they go to school. • They think their parents are too controlling and they tend to rebel. • They feel they’re not smart or struggle with schoolwork. • They have trouble with drugs, alcohol or mental illness. • They regularly skip school. • There is physical or verbal abuse in the home. • They feel like they don’t have friends or they’re an outcast at school.
How can you help? Sit down and talk with them about their future. Let them know you have confidence that they can succeed. Encourage them to share their frustrations and remind them that your door is always open. Be a friend and accept them.
Of course, just sending a “boost” or saying “I care” is no guarantee that a teen will stay in school. But imagine the impact if every adolescent heard those words on a regular basis. Have you ever heard a teenager say that he made it through high school because a teacher took him under her wing and let him know that she cared if he passed his classes? Sometimes, that’s all it takes. I strongly encourage you to mentor a teen who is at risk of dropping out. Don’t wait for somebody else to do it. You can be the one to change their future for the better.