I have spoken to many of you personally about the UrbanFUTURE high school program, which is an initiative begun in 2013 to follow our 8th grade students as they leave Fanning and Busch Middle Schools to begin their high school journey. We are beginning to see the blossoming of our effort, as the UF rookie Robotics Team at Carnahan High School placed 17th out of 43 teams at last week’s regional competition at Chaifetz Arena – an amazing accomplishment! Also, of note, we have one senior participating in the dual-enrollment program at Ranken Technical College and a Super Mileage Challenge Team is emerging at the Clyde C. Miller Career Academy High School. Our High School Career Manager, Anthony Lemons, is working in earnest with over 100 UF students tracking their interests and providing them with career and educational development opportunities from our growing list of Real World Business Partners. As word spreads amongst high school students about UrbanFUTURE’s presence, Anthony is finding himself energized and busy!
As a way to embolden our 8th graders as they begin their high school journey and to reaffirm our current 9th grader’s freshman experience, we are launching the UrbanFUTURE Summer Leadership Academy. It will take place at the UF central office allowing easy access for students coming from both the north and south sides of the city. The program will consist of two, 3-week sessions in June and July and is open to all current 8th and 9th grade UF students. Both sessions will focus on tutoring in Communication Arts and Math, leadership and character formation, College scholarship and financial aid awareness, job search training and resume writing as well as incorporating field trips to local businesses and corporations. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to create an even deeper connection with our students during a very important transitional period as they prepare themselves to join tomorrow’s St. Louis workforce.
Funding a Need. To house the UrbanFUTURE Leadership Academy it is necessary to convert a multi-room space at our main office on Olive Street into a computer lab and phone center. The estimated cost is $30,000, which includes bringing the building up to code by providing a second point of egress for our students.
Would you consider investing in this important program by funding all or part of our Leadership Academy? As a reminder, we don't always have MO Tax Credits, but we do this year. Your investment of $3,000, or more, to UrbanFUTURE for the building of the Summer Leadership Academy would make you eligible to receive 50% tax credits (costing you only 24 to 31 cents on the dollar, depending on your tax bracket). Please consider investing in our future leaders, and enable them to have access to the resources they need to makes their dreams a reality. I welcome your phone call to discuss this important initiative. I can be reached at 314-504-0182 or email@example.com. Thank you for helping us prepare tomorrow’s workforce!
Frank Van Bree
· From the desk of UrbanFUTURE President/CEO Frank Van Bree:
· • Role modeling the future
· • Economics of a high school drop out
· • Giving makes you better and our city
The crux of the turmoil and unrest that has plagued our region is poverty and the utter hopelessness that accompanies it – for all, but especially for young, black males. Imagine growing up with the idea that what you do in life really doesn’t matter and that you will likely be dead by age 23 anyway. What behaviors should we expect from having little or no hope? Poverty is a tyranny that reaches far deeper than the lack of money, and literally traps one in place with seemingly no reasonable way out. UrbanFUTURE Restoration™ offers a framework for our middle and high school students to develop belief and trust that a worthwhile future does indeed exist for them. Central to UF Restoration is a mentor from our St. Louis community that is willing to act as a role model showcasing the possibilities that are available to transform a life.
According to the Missouri Dept. of Education, the 2010-2011 St. Louis Public School graduation rate was 52.6% - meaning almost 5 out of 10 students dropped out of high school. Although the situation has slightly improved since then, this extreme dropout rate affects us all. High school dropouts are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested and 8 times more likely to be in jail or prison, costing taxpayers money both in incarceration costs, but also in the lost earning potential of these individuals. The St. Louis economy suffers as a whole when these individuals do not contribute.
The UrbanFUTURE approach to decrease the dropout rate is to offer a clear infrastructure for our middle and high school students to ready themselves for the job market, and to ultimately pull themselves out of poverty. UrbanFUTURE has thus become a destination for St. Louis community members who really want to make a difference. One way to do this is by becoming a mentor to one of our 8th grade middle or high school students.
A key focus to UF mentoring is the career development aspect for our students. Individuals as well as corporate groups are welcome; we provide training and curriculum to help develop lasting relationships. There are UrbanFUTURE alumnae, now in the workforce, who still maintain close relationships with their mentors, including our featured alumnae this month, Aquila Daniels. She attributes her mentor as a key to her academic and now professional success!
As a long-time mentor to two students myself, I can tell you first hand that the work can be difficult, but the feeling of being a part of real change is incredible. Learn more about mentoring at www.urbanfuturestl.org/volunteer, and be a part of the growth and success of our young community members.
Frank Van Bree
We had the pleasure of welcoming Kindred Healthcare executive and former NFL player Je'Mone Smith to both of our middle schools on December 17th, 2014 to speak to our students. His message of leadership and making your education a priority hit home with so many UrbanFUTURE students!
In the beginning of his presentations Je'Mone listed out all of our kids career goals as they called them out, and then asked them "How bad do you want it? How hard are you willing to work for it?" You could see the wheels turning and the lights going on as our students comtemplated their future careers!
As Je'Mone says, "Vision is foresight, with insight, based on hindsight." Really makes you think, doesn't it? We are so grateful that Je'Mone took the time to visit St. Louis to speak to our students and share his reflections on his own personal hindsight, and how it has shaped his vision and his career path. So many valuable lessons were taught!
You can view Je'Mone's talk with our students at Busch Middle School here:
Thanks again, Je'Mone!
A heartfelt thank you for your support of UrbanFUTURE. As an investor you are creating a future for our middle and high school students by allowing them to focus on their education and future career path, which will result in gainful employment in the St. Louis area!
A recent report by the Brookings Institute found that more than 3.3 million STEM jobs - in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields - at more than 50,000 companies nationwide were available last year. Imagine the potential for our UrbanFUTURE kids! With a laser focus on promoting STEM education and careers through UF programming, we are leveraging this influx of possibility.
We have 25 motivated students on our middle school UrbanFUTURE Robotics teams, who competed in their inaugural FIRST LEGO League competition in November. Both did exceptionally well, and of special note, our team from Busch Middle School came from behind to place 4th overall! Also, thanks to additional funding from The Berges Family Fund, we have expanded our STEM focused efforts to high school students. Based out of Carnahan High School of the Future, we have formed a FIRST Robotics team of 21 students called the UF Circuit Breakers. They will begin meeting regularly in January, in preparation for the big April competition at Chafitz Arena. Finally, we are working to establish a Missouri SuperMileage Challenge team, between several high schools, to build a highly efficient automobile!
Through our partnerships with Ranken Technical College and the Saint Louis Science Center's YES program, we have a myriad of opportunities available to our middle and high school students. Last summer, we had 54 middle and high school students attend the Ranken Summer Adventure Academy and learn various STEM subjects from automotive engineering to aviation, which will again be an option for our kids in Summer 2015. Of note, we also have 2 UrbanFUTURE high school seniors who are dual-enrolled at Ranken! With its 98% job placement rate after graduation, we can be confident these students are on a direct path to a STEM career through Ranken.
With your continued support, we will continue to provide valuable connections and a clear pathway to UrbanFUTURE students. From middle school to high school to post-secondary and finally to the job! We are allowing them to see and believe in their own possibilities by giving them the tools to take themselves to a career.
With deepest thanks and wishes for a safe and happy holiday season,
Frank Van Bree
Our sincerest thanks to our FY2015 UrbanCHAMPIONS!
UrbanCHAMPION Business Partners
• RehabCare/Kindred Healthcare
• Maritz LLC
• Keinstra Enterprises
• Intellica CRE
• Haustette Foundation
• Bernoudy Foundation
• The Berges Family Foundation
• Jerry Steiner, Monsanto (ret.)
• Barry Beracha, Sara Lee Corp. (ret.)
• Steven Mizell, Monsanto (ret.)
• Jeff Rein, Walgreen (ret.)
• Doug Mueller, Mueller Prost
• Elizabeth Mannen, The Mannen Financial Group at Wells Fargo Advisors
• Thom and Jane Sehnert, Annie Gunn's and The Smokehouse Market
• Gene Frederic, Frederic Roofing
• Bill and Rosie Sei, Greater St. Louis Honor Flight
• Anna Keller, Todd Foundation
With your help we will continue on our mission to enrich, educate and enliven our urban youth, and lead them on a path to a career in tomorrow's workforce. Thank you for your generosity - it IS making a difference!
UrbanFUTURE's latest Featured Partner is RehabCare/Kindred Healthcare!
Through our new partnership, UrbanFUTURE students will have an array of incredible opportunities in our new healthcare career pipeline with RehabCare. RehabCare/Kindred Healthcare employees have committed to being Mentors to our high school students, Career Connectors and host our students on field trips to their facilities, and will also come to our middle and high schools to career speak to our kids about careers in healthcare. More updates to come, as we continue to build and grow this exciting partnership.
Thank you RehabCare for your generosity, and your support of UrbanFUTURE. Together, we will bring students from the classroom to careers!
The Boeing Company announced last week that it has awarded UrbanFUTURE's High School Robotics Team a grant of $5,250 for the 2015 FIRST Robotics Competition! This generous grant will allow our UrbanFUTURE High School Robotics Team, the UF Circuit Breakers, to purchase robotics kits and pay the necessary registration fees for this years FIRST Robotics Competition. Competing with other schools from all across the country will no doubt have a deep impact on our UrbanFUTURE students as they strive towards careers in the STEM arena.
Much like UrbanFUTURE, Boeing is committed to education programs that are designed to develop a globally competitive workforce and strong communities. By awarding grants to over 280 robotics teams nationwide this year, Boeing continues to work toward a future when all students will have access to learning so they can develop their skills, do what they dream and build something better.
Thank you Boeing for supporting UrbanFUTURE and making our robust St. Louis community even stronger!