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HISTORY and MISSION
Promise Corps collaborates with school leaders, community members, families and youth advocates to directly support high school students in their post-secondary planning. Promise Corps exposes students to as many post-secondary options as possible, including diverse careers and college pathways, then collaboratively plans towards the most desired post-secondary plan for each unique student by role-modeling positive self-esteem, high expectations, persistence, and resilience.
Promise Corps provides teams of College and Career Coaches (CCC’s) to collaborate with school leaders, community members, families and youth advocates to directly support high school students in their post-secondary planning. With an emphasis on job readiness and high school graduation as the primary focus, Promise Corps strives to expose students to a variety of post-secondary options, including diverse careers and college pathways. Promise Corps CCC’s then collaboratively plan with students towards their most desired post-secondary plan by setting expectations on goal setting and role-modeling positive self-esteem, high expectations, persistence, and resilience.
Promise Corps then activates a pathway approach that introduces students to partners at local academic institutions that will continue to support students as they move into their secure post-secondary plan.
The Promise Corps CCC’s placed in schools will be trained and equipped with resources, information, tools and curriculum to guide students to first explore their post-secondary future and second, set and achieve short and long term goals towards their desired plan. To capture some of Philadelphia’s most vulnerable youth, Promise Corps prioritizes high schools located in or near the West Philadelphia Promise Zone (WPPZ).
The West Philadelphia Promise Zone includes the neighborhoods of Mantua, Belmont, Mill Creek, West Powelton, Powelton Village, and portions of Walnut Hill and Spruce Hill. WPPZ has suffered from generations of institutionalized poverty, yet also features world-class employers and postsecondary institutions including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The WPPZ’s 2013 poverty rate was 48%, higher than the citywide rate of 26.3%. Over 45% of households earn less than $15,000 each year and the median household income is $13,317. One of the WPPZ goals is to expand educational opportunities and outcomes for youth. Philadelphia schools have high academic deficits and a deep need for support services. While improvements have been made to academic supports for students there are very limited opportunities for college and career counseling. This results in students taking on high amounts of student loan debt, missing opportunities to best prepare for the workplace and being neither college ready nor job ready after high school graduation. Through this in school approach, Promise Corps CCC’s build lasting relationships with students and help to expand academic supports toward college and career success.