Goodwill® GoodGuides® Program Recognized for Helping Keep Youth on Path to Graduation

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PBS’s “American Graduate Day 2015” Highlights Program’s Success on October 3

'We need to bring attention to the need for more champions to help all students navigate the challenges in and out of the classroom,' said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International.

Recent data shows high school graduation rates across the U.S. are at an all-time high, surpassing 81 percent. Studies also indicate that a young person’s success can be greatly enhanced by a champion or mentor, an adult who consistently helps in ways both big and small . Goodwill’s GoodGuides program is among several mentoring success stories that will be featured on PBS’s “American Graduate Day” broadcast on Saturday, October 3.

“Being a mentor for a student is one of the greatest ways to help him or her stay on track and achieve academic success,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Goodwill is proud to be among the organizations highlighted in ‘American Graduate Day’ for assisting youth in high-risk situations make better life choices.”

Hannah Strope, a participant in the GoodGuides program at Goodwill Industries of Central Florida (Orlando), and mentor, Orbi Rosario, are featured in the October 3 all-day broadcast of “American Graduate Day.” Their segment will air live between 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. EDT on PBS stations in 50 affiliate markets. While Hannah has had a few mentors through the program, Orbi was the most influential after Hannah was involved in a serious car accident and struggled to stay in high school. Through the support of her GoodGuides mentors, Hannah also overcame financial struggles and family instability to become the first in her family to graduate high school. She now attends college and serves as a mentor herself.

"I never had anyone push me to do something until I met Orbi," Hannah said. "From him telling me never to give up, that motivated me to finish high school."

The GoodGuides program serves youth, ages 12-17, who are at risk. The program helps them finish school, transition into the world of work and prepare for success by pairing them with trusted adult volunteer mentors. Mentors help youth overcome disadvantages such as failure in school due to poor grades or low attendance, or avoid delinquency due to issues such as abuse, disability, drug or alcohol dependence, family violence or gang membership. The program helps the youth build career plans and skills, and prepare for school completion, post-secondary training and productive work. Most importantly, mentors serve as trusted and reliable resources to help mentees fulfill their goals and find job success.

“We need to bring attention to the need for more champions to help all students navigate the challenges in and out of the classroom,” Gibbons said.

“American Graduate Day” is an annual, multi-platform broadcast produced by WNET New York Public Media and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The event features national and local segments showcasing community organizations and individual champions that provide support, advice and intervention to at-risk students, families and schools. Viewers can participate on social media using the hashtag #AmGrad.

To learn more about how Goodwill helps youth, adults and their families reach their full potential, visit http://www.goodwill.org

About Goodwill Industries International
Goodwill Industries International is a network of 165 community-based agencies in the United States and Canada with a presence in 14 other countries. Goodwill is one of America’s top 20 most inspiring companies (Forbes, 2014). Goodwill agencies are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 3,000 stores and online at shopgoodwill.com®. Local Goodwill agencies also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food services preparation, and document imaging and shredding. In 2014, more than 426,000 people in the United States and Canada used Goodwill’s intensive one-on-one career services to prepare for employment. In addition, more than 24 million people used computers and mobile devices to access Goodwill education, training, mentoring and online learning services to strengthen their skills. To learn more, visit goodwill.org.

To find a Goodwill location near you, use the online locator at Goodwill.org, use the Goodwill Locator app at goodwill.org/apps, or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook: GoodwillIntl.

About GoodGuides®
The goal of the GoodGuides program is to help youth build career plans and skills, and prepare for school completion, post-secondary training and productive work. Funded by a two-year grant to Goodwill Industries International from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Goodwill GoodGuides program is run by 56 independent Goodwill agencies around the country.

About “American Graduate Day 2015”
“American Graduate Day” will return on Saturday, October 3, 2015, from 11 a.m.–6 p.m. EDT (check local listings) live from Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in New York City. American Graduate Day is a live, seven-hour multi-platform broadcast that leverages the power and reach of public media to focus on those organizations and individual champions keeping kids on the path to graduation. “American Graduate Day” centers on the critical themes of career readiness and college completion, caring consistent adults, dropout prevention and re-engagement, early education, more and better learning, special needs and STEAM. Journalists, thought leaders and celebrities join together to raise awareness of the incredible work being done across the country to keep kids in school. The broadcast and online event features national and local segments from across the country that showcase how community organizations and individual champions provide support, advice and intervention services to at-risk students, families and schools.

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Lauren Lawson-Zilai