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Letter: Expand programs to help city’s struggling students

Expand programs to help city’s struggling students

Donn Esmonde sheds light on an important issue in education when he states in his April 11 column that students don’t just need math and science; they need structure, direction, boundaries and social safety nets in order to succeed. Our community needs to develop new ideas, such as a boarding school concept, while recognizing and expanding current successful programs, like Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection (HW-SC), which is providing a similar support to students in four Buffalo schools.

Since 1987, our nationally recognized youth development program has addressed the core issues plaguing youth at risk of dropping out by providing academic support, part-time employment and mentoring from full-time youth advocates. Support from youth advocates, coupled with our Youth Employment Training Academy, is working to break the cycle of poverty by helping students graduate from high school.

Since coming to Buffalo five years ago, HW-SC has been successfully tackling some of the most difficult challenges that students face outside of the classroom, including poverty, inadequate access to services, challenges at home and youth unemployment. We’ve helped 100 youth at risk of dropping out graduate with the skills and confidence they need to become college and career-ready and well-poised to become contributing members of our society.

Esmonde’s thoughtful piece highlights a crucial issue Buffalo is facing. In order to make a measurable difference, we need to support programs like HW-SC in addition to embracing other efforts to help impact Buffalo students’ lives in a way that will benefit our community as a whole.

Lamont Williams

Executive Director, Buffalo Region

Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection