(PITTSBURGH) August 13, 2012 Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today announced that the Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded the City and its partners $100,000 to make way for a new initiative that will help increase the number of ‘Promise Ready’ students and post-secondary education graduates by equipping more adults with the skills to mentor young people. The initiative - led by the Mayor’s ServePGH initiative with support from The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania, the United Way of Allegheny County, the Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) and the Pittsburgh Promise - will hold a series of mentoring workshops in targeted communities in order to inspire more “Promise Coaches.”
“We are extremely grateful to Coca-Cola for their support of Pittsburgh's young people through our new Promise Coaches program,” Ravenstahl said. “This initiative reminds the community that everyone can play a role in the lives of our young residents. Whether you’re a neighbor to a young person, or their older cousin, we want to give you the tools to help guide them to success and achievement.”
Promise Coaches aims to increase both high school and college graduation rates among Pittsburgh residents through a series of community workshops, mirroring The Pittsburgh Promise's goals. Additionally, it aims to increase the number of public school graduates who receive funding from The Pittsburgh Promise, a $40,000 scholarship available to all public and charter school students in the City of Pittsburgh that meet attendance and GPA requirements.
Unlike traditional mentoring programs, this program does not match adults with young people. Instead, it offers a wealth of resources for mentoring relationships that already exist. Citywide, adults can attend trainings, have access to both online and print resources, and commit to staying involved and engaged in a youth’s life through high school and higher education.
“We wholeheartedly believe in the importance of helping each and every young person succeed,” said Colleen Fedor, executive director of The Mentoring Partnership. “This effort will better inform and equip caring adult volunteers to engage and help students navigate high-school and prepare for successful, fulfilling and productive careers. It is a win for students, a win for the volunteers and a win for our city. Joining with Mayor Ravenstahl, we are continuing to build on existing mentoring efforts to ensure that all young people know that we care about them and are here to help them reach their fullest potential.”
The initiative resulted from a series of meetings with education and community leaders, all of whom have the goal to improve Pittsburgh’s graduation rates. The group assessed the need for a new mentoring campaign that focused on high school and college graduation, and modeled the initiative from Philadelphia’s successful Graduation Coach initiative, which is being promoted as best practice by Cities of Service.
The Mayor’s ServePGH initiative already supports mentoring activities. The City of Pittsburgh is the largest local employer to participate in the United Way’s Be a 6thGrade Mentor program. Over 50 City employees, including the Mayor, mentored 6th grade students during the 2011-2012 school year. In addition, employees are encouraged to read to elementary school students during their lunch hour through a new partnership with Reading is Fundamental Pittsburgh's Everybody Wins!.
About The Coca-Cola Foundation
Mayor's Office of Service and Civic Engagement
512 City County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2280 | facsimile 412-255-2988