The mother of a teenager in the 30310 zip code of Atlanta was afraid her son’s school didn’t have the resources he needed to become successful.
“She wanted to move him to another school, but he didn’t have the money to relocate her family to another community,” says Michael Supreme, teen director of the Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA.
The young man, Quinton, was joined by 50 other students like himself at the YMCA who participated in after-school college and career readiness sessions, which include college tours, college workshops and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math workshops and field trips over the course of the past year.
Supreme says the students also learned about leadership and civic engagement, and they were required to conduct at least one “impact project” each month. He said the students were interested in “expanding the scope of the program.”
These sessions were funded as part of United Way of Greater Atlanta’s African-American Partnership Build-A-Library program.
“We lacked resources and funding support for our middle and high school initiatives,” Supreme says. “This funding aided us to provide content to this demographic of participants.”
Build-A-Library sites are funded by United Way of Greater Atlanta through the African-American Partnership affinity group. AAP has provided books and other learning materials for different locations across Greater Atlanta through this Build-A-Library program.
United Way of Greater Atlanta’s African-American Partnership was established 20 years ago to engage an underrepresented population of United Way giving societies.
APP celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with its fifth-annual Leadership Luncheon on Feb. 29, 2020.
The partnership launched June 2000 under an African American Initiative moniker by Conchita Robinson and Charles Stephens with the purpose of increasing financial participation and volunteers from our community — there was also this real desire to make United Way’s donor base more reflective of the demographics in Atlanta where they serve. AAP committed itself to addressing achievement gaps and improving outcomes for African-American boys and young men in the Greater Atlanta region by offering resources and mentorship.
AAP is open to donors with shared affinities for philanthropy, leadership and service, and members of AAP donate $1,000 a year or more to United Way of Greater Atlanta. Currently, AAP has more than 1,000 members and raises more than $2 million annually.
That money feeds into United Way’s overall goal of improving the well-being of more than 250,000 children in Greater Atlanta’s 13 counties by 2027.
United Way saw after its strategic planning meeting two years ago that the zip code a child lived in too often determined the fate of that child. United Way saw that, statistically, because of what zip code a child was born into, he or she was handed a disadvantage beyond their control. Through a set of 14 measures, United Way calculated at the time a child well-being score of 58.9.
On May 9, officials announced the score had improved in two years to 61.8. That equates to a change in the lives of more than 82,000 children in the region living in low or very low child well-being. By using the child as the lens, we can identify the big picture needs of the community, such as a need for essential educational resources for these communities.
Quinton’s mother “credits this program with inspiring her son and for providing him with the access to the tools and experiences that he needs to continue to successfully grow and develop,” Supreme says.
“Quinton identified his spark as being an engineer,” Supreme says. “He is interested in attending college at Georgia Tech. He is a peer leader who recruits others to join this initiative and other programs at YMCA.”