The Washington Post

Prince George’s at-risk-teen program gets up to $1.95 million from philanthropic group

Venture Philanthropy Partners has pledged to invest up to $1.95 million to a program that helps teenagers in Prince George’s County who are at risk of dropping out of school.

VPP plans to give the money to the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection to provide resources to nearly 900 middle and high school students.

“There are too many young people who want to succeed but lack the necessary skills and support to overcome the many barriers to their success,” said Carol Thompson Cole, the president and chief executive officer of VPP, in a statement. “With this investment from VPP, Hillside will more than triple the number of young people it serves in the National Capital Region. Over time, this program has the potential to change the lives of thousands of youth, helping them on the path of graduation and career success, and ultimately contributing to the economic vitality of some of our challenged communities.”

Hillside will use the funds to work in nine schools that are part of the county’s Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative, in areas that face significant safety, health and educational challenges.

Hillside, which was founded by Wegmans Food Markets, will provide the students with academic support, mentoring and an opportunity to work part time.

The program has been operating in Prince George’s since 2008. In 2012, 71 percent of low-income students graduated from high school on time in the county. Among the students who participated in the Hillside program, 94 percent graduated within four years.

“Hillside’s program model of nurturing and coaching with high expectations has proven to dramatically increase graduation rates and represents an important element in the continuum of services for at-risk youth,” Cole said. “We are pleased to be partnering with an organization with such a strong track record of success in helping our most vulnerable young people achieve a brighter future.”

Ovetta Wiggins covers Maryland state politics in Annapolis.

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