April 3, 2019

Today, we hear from Natalie Rutledge, Executive Director of Communities in Schools - Marietta/Cobb.  Later in the show, Bruce Gale brings us an interview with an earlier Kid Hero, Delaney Reynolds.

While the national high school dropout rate has declined, many school systems still struggle with a high number of students who do not finish high school.  We’ve seen all the studies and know that education is the key to breaking the generational cycle of poverty and leading a successful, productive life.

Once out of school, dropouts are more likely to commit crimes, depend on food stamps and land lower-paying jobs. Researchers have found that, on average, they die nine years earlier than high school graduates.

According to the Department of Education, 30.8 percent of young adults (18-24) who do not have a high school diploma live in poverty. That’s more than 25% higher than the poverty rate for high school grads.

Simply finding a job is also much more of a challenge for dropouts.  The unemployment rate for dropouts is generally 4 percentage points higher than the national average.  Most employers require a high school diploma and this just decreases the chances of employment for these youth with the accompanied access to health insurance and retirement benefits that could support them and their families.  Without that high school diploma is so much harder for these young men and women to access vocational schools and skills training that could give them the chance to earn a decent living.

According to the National Children’s Reading Foundation, 78% of juvenile crime is committed by high school dropouts. According to the National Adult Literacy Survey, 70% of all incarcerated adults cannot read at a 4th grade level. This makes the issue one that impacts all of us in the community.

This brings us to today's highlighted nonprofit, Communities in Schools - Marietta/Cobb...

Communities in Schools is the nation’s largest dropout prevention organization. Their mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.  @CISMCC

Across the country, approximately 1 in 5 children under 18 live in poverty. Without community support, they are more at risk for missing school, dropping out and failing to earn a high school diploma. By helping our most vulnerable students stay in school and succeed in life, we are building stronger, healthier and more economically stable communities where every person is capable of reaching his or her greatest potential.

Communities in Schools works directly inside schools, building relationships that empower students to succeed inside and outside the classroom.  The organization works directly in 2,300 schools in 25 states and the District of Columbia.  The founder, Bill Milliken, said “It's relationships, not programs, that change children.”

Bev had the opportunity to talk with Natalie Rutledge, Executive Director of Communities in Schools - Marietta/Cobb County.

Delaney Reynolds has been called 'one of the leading voices for the environment for her generation' by Philippe Cousteau, an 'Eco Warrior' by David Smith, and an 'incredibly valuable force of nature' by Caroline Lewis of the CLEO Institute.

She is the Founder & CEO of the nonprofit, The Sink or Swim Project, and its popular website http://www.miamisearise.com/, an educational and political advocacy organization focused on a variety of environmental topics including climate change and sea level rise. @thesinkorswimproject

She is also the author and illustrator of 3 children's books, as well as a comic book on ecology topics and is completing a new book on the impact of climate change and sea level rise in South Florida.

Bruce Gale brings us the interview with Delaney Reynolds.

Delaney Reynolds
Delaney Reynolds