Last year, BlackGivesBack featured posts on the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, founded by African American business executive Shellie Stewart (in photo above, center) in honor of his mother, Mattie C. Stewart. The foundation's mission is to create tools and resources to help educators, community leaders and parents effectively address the dropout rate and increase the graduation rate. Our first post highlighted their innovative Choice Bus, that uses a school bus as a "jail cell" to encourage youth to stay in school and graduate. Our second post shared the good news that AT&T donated $50,000 toward their efforts in North Carolina. Now, the foundation has announced their nationwide expansion of 10 Choice Buses to help fight the nation's dropout epidemic.
Via Press Release: The Choice Bus, a tool developed by The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation to help educators, administrators, parents and community leaders increase the graduation rate, allows students to see firsthand the importance of the choices they make -- especially the choice to finish school. The bus, an interactive experience-based learning tool that is half-classroom and half-prison cell, demonstrates the powerful benefits of education along with the likely consequence that await those who choose to drop out -- a life of crime.
Since its inception, The Choice Bus has impacted over 53,000 children across the United States. Its overwhelming success created demand for additional buses to respond to hundreds of requests from across the country. The second bus, Choice Two, was dedicated this month to serve the southeastern region of the country.
Furthering its mission to reach students on a national level, The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation acquired 10 buses to be converted and start visiting schools across the country in 2010 and 2011.
"America can no longer ignore the dropout problem facing our communities," said Dr. Shelley Stewart, President and Founder of The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation. "Twenty five years ago we were the world leaders in high school graduation, but not any longer. We must all work together to create innovative and effective methods to help students and their families understand the relevance of education in the real world. The Choice Bus does that and much, much more. With today's announcement along with the support of our partners, we'll soon have 10 Choice Buses visiting schools and communities in all regions of the country."
The Foundation partners with America's Promise Alliance, the National Dropout Prevention Center and Communities In Schools. "America's Promise Alliance is excited to be a partner with The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation and their expansion of The Choice Bus fleet," said Alma Powell, Chair of America's Promise Alliance. "The addition of 10 more Choice Buses will make this tool accessible to many more communities across the country. We applaud The Foundation for fulfilling the promise of America for so many children and youth."
Visit the website at www.mattiecstewart.org to view impactful videos of the Choice Bus and for more information.
Source: Press Release/PRNewswire/Photo: Flickr