Event highlights success of United Way ’s “Focus Forward” initiative, a unique after-school program that employs the arts to help at-risk students improve attendance and academic performance
Nearly 200 of the 1100 at-risk public school students participating in United Way of New York City ’s Focus Forward program will perform their music, dance and poetry, and put their artwork on display.Focus Forward is one of the only after-school programs in the city designed to help at-risk junior and high school students improve their attendance and accumulate credits toward graduation through activities such as arts enrichment, personal development, and college and career exploration. The program targets students most at-risk of dropping out, generally under-credited and over-age. Focus Forward uses arts and youth development strategies to inspire participating students and to reignite their interest in learning – giving them the confidence they need to succeed. Other facets of Focus Forward include intensive counseling, family involvement and connecting students to appropriate academic support services. The academic support and youth development activities and projects result in increased knowledge, improved attitude, skills acquisition, and/or cultural/creative competence.
United Way of New York City has a long history of involvement in our public schools and keeping students on track to graduation. Our oldest and best-known initiative is the Community Achievement Project in the Schools (CAPS), which provides attendance improvement and dropout prevention services to eligible students from over 100 schools as well as their families. United Way established Focus Forward as an after-school enhancement to CAPS in 2006. Focus Forward is made possible by generous financial support from JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Con Edison, JC Penney Afterschool Fund, KeySpan Foundation, and the New York City Council.
Saturday, June 7, 2008. 1:30 PM, Student Artwork Exhibit, 2:00 PM, Student Performances
Teatro Heckscher, El Museo De Barrio, 1230 Fifth Avenue at 104th Street
Steve Kaufman (United Way of New York City ) – 212-251-2416/917-533-3098, Julie Wood – 212-260-8813/202-669-1524