Kellogg Foundation Grant to Local Nonprofit will Improve Academic Performance for At-Risk Chicago Youth

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This press release announces a $90,000 grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to the Abraham Low Institute to establish Power to Change programs in Chicago public high schools over the next 3 years. The goal is to help at-risk youth manage their anger and fear,thereby improving academic achievement.

Youth in some of Chicago's most troubled schools will learn how to turn anger and fear into academic achievement through a new program funded by a three year, $90,000 grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to the Abraham Low Institute of Northfield, Illinois. The Institute's program, known as the Power to Change, is based on the self-help system devised by the late Dr. Abraham Low. The Power to Change teaches young people to control negative thoughts and behaviors that often impede learning.

"Chicago's public high schools are rife with violence, which seriously compromises the ability of young people to learn in a safe, supportive, and trusting environment," said Nancy Carstedt, Executive Director of the Abraham Low Institute.

The project will enable the Institute to establish Power to Change groups in up to 10 Chicago public high schools during the 2005-2006 school year. During the second and third years of the grant, the number will expand to include an additional five to ten schools per year.Overall, more than 800 students are expected to take part in the program. Through structured, peer-led groups, the Power to Change targets at-risk youth, ages 14-18. By training young people to think and act peacefully, the Power to Change builds their self-discipline and concentration, while lessening the distractions caused by a disruptive learning environment.

Carstedt said that, "Power to Change students learn to take control of their lives, rather than be victims of events or of other people's behavior." More than 100 students have taken part in the program with strong anecdotal evidence of positive results. The project will include empirical data relative to test scores, truancy and criminal behavior.

Julio, a recent Power to Change participant, commented, "All of us have similar problems - problems at home, problems in school, problems on the street, peer pressure. I use the tools everyday. 'A human being has the power to choose.' 'Don't let the outer environemnt get to the inner environment over the bridge of temper.' That's the one I use a lot. 'Peace is the food of life.', which it is. The program works."

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 to "help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations." To achieve the gretest impact, the Foundation targets its grants toward specific areas. These include: health; food systems and rural development; youth and education; and philanthropy and volunteerism. Within these areas, attention is given to exploring learning opportunities in leadership; information and communication technology; capitalizing on diversity; and social and economic community development. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South African Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.

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Nancy Carstedt
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