Editor's Note: The following is a news release issued by the Lawrence Township-based United Way of Greater Mercer County.
The Comcast Foundation has awarded a $25,000 grant to United Way of Greater Mercer County (UWGMC) to support the United Youth Mentor Link program at Trenton Central High School.
United Youth Mentor Link (UYML) is a United Way of Greater Mercer County program whose goal is to increase the Trenton Central High School graduation rate from 50 percent to 90 percent.
UYML is part of UWGMC’s “Education” focus area that is designed to get kids ready for school, to keep them in school, and to increase parents’ involvement in their children’s lives. Often, urban youth do not come from intact families, lack adult role models, and do not have positive support systems in their lives. This program gives them a sense of belonging that otherwise would be provided by gangs, and also provides positive adult and peer role models and mentors.
The initial goal of the program is to get at-risk freshmen beyond their first year, since data shows that most kids drop out by their sophomore year. The first cohort of freshmen, who graduated in June 2012, lost only one student, and by the end of their four years, only two students had dropped out, for a success rate of over 90 percnt.
With this generous grant funding from the Comcast Foundation, UWGMC will be able to strengthen the program and improve its sustainability, by increasing the number of trips to the Princeton Blairstown Center, increasing the number of adult mentors, and providing a nutritional component.
“The success of this program is a testament to the power of positive mentoring and of providing youth with role models who listen and show that they care. It’s that one-to-one relationship that turns lives around and gives kids a sense of hope for a future,” said Patrick Cacacie, vice president of resource investment at UWGMC.
“Programs like United Youth Mentor Link help to improve lives in the region,” said Comcast Director of Community Investment Kimberly Smith. “We are proud to support the United Way though many partnerships and to help other local organizations continue their important work.”
The Comcast Foundation has donated more than $16 million this year to nonprofit organizations in the communities it serves nationwide. Since 1999, the Comcast Foundation has donated more than $123 million.
In addition to grants from the Comcast Foundation, Comcast also responds to community needs through local sponsorships and in-kind support, such as airing public service announcements, employee volunteerism and providing technology equipment and services to organizations across the country. It is estimated that Comcast’s in-kind support will exceed $211 million in 2012.