Earlier this year, BlackGivesBack featured a post on the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, founded by Alabama businessman Dr. Shelley Stewart in honor of his late mother, Mattie C. Stewart. The foundation is dedicated to reducing the drop out rate across the country by creating innovative tools and resources, such as the InsideOut Program and the Choice Bus rolling classroom. We're happy to share that the foundation has received a $50,000 grant from AT&T to support their efforts in North Carolina!
In photo: Dr. Shelley Stewart, founder and president of the Foundation; Cynthia Marshall, North Carolina president of AT&T; and Dr. June Atkinson, superintendent of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
Via press release: The AT&T Foundation - the corporate philanthropy organization of AT&T Inc. has awarded the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation (MCSF) $50,000 to support North Carolina's dropout prevention initiative through the InsideOut Program and the "Choice Bus" rolling classroom. The InsideOut program features a powerful video documentary with prison inmates about the devastating effects of dropping out of school. The AT&T Choice Bus, a real bus that is half classroom and half replica of a jail cell, will also travel the state.
The grant sends 5,000 InsideOut dropout prevention toolkits to schools across North Carolina. Two toolkits will go to all North Carolina public schools, representing some 400,000 students. The grant also sponsors a statewide tour of the AT&T Choice Bus. This MCSF mobile teaching tool plainly shows children the choice between staying in school or eventually winding up in jail. AT&T volunteers will support this bus experience as it travels around the state to schools and youth centers.
"I appreciate AT&T's commitment to high school graduation for all students and their support of the InsideOut Choice Bus and the dropout prevention toolkits for schools across the state," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson. "This is one important way to get the word out: dropping out of high school sets a course that too often leads to prison. We can't afford to lose our young people in this way."
"We congratulate AT&T for stepping up and doing something about the dropout rate in North Carolina," MCSF Founder and President Dr. Shelley Stewart said. "We invite other corporations in the state to do the same. Already, our MCSF tools are in 29 states and Canada. The more we reach, the more students we can save from a life of prison and poverty, and instead give them every opportunity for prosperity.
"If we don't do something about the dropout rate, then all youth are at risk. America is at risk. It is an epidemic," Stewart said. "As a homeless kid in the segregated South decades ago, a teacher told me that if I can learn to read, I can be anything. That is our message to children today. If you get an education, you can be anything great that you want to be."
For more information, visit http://www.mattiecstewart.org/.
Photo: PRNewsFoto/Mattie C. Stewart Foundation