Powerful Youth for Powerful Communities
Why We Need Groundwork

Why We Need Groundwork
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  • More than half of Brooklyn's children live at or below the poverty line.
  • There are over 50,000 young people aged 7 to 14 living in Brooklyn public housing developments.
  • Children experience learning loss when they are not engaged in constructive activities during the summer, and lower-income children lose more than their higher-income peers.
  • Young people spend most of their waking hours out of school.
  • Nationwide, eight million children ages 5 to 14 spend this time without regular adult supervision.
  • 90 percent of youth arrests occur in the after-school hours between 3 and 7 p.m.
  • Students in after-school and summer learning and mentoring programs perform better in school, show greater emotional adjustment, and avoid pregnancy, substance abuse, and criminal involvement.
  • There is a positive correlation between work experiences gained in high school and employment or earnings a few years after high school.
  • When made part of a comprehensive educational program, work experience can support career exploration and planning, improve student motivation and academic achievement, develop the capacity for teamwork and other "soft skills" essential for academic and professional success, and equip students to play an active part in the economic development of their communities.
Groundwork has launched its first three programs in the East New York section of Brooklyn, the community where its co-founder and executive director, Richard Buery, grew up, and an area of great need. In East New York:

  • 71% of children are born into poverty - one of the highest concentrations in all of New York City
  • 70% of students failed to meet state reading standards in 2001
The poor academic performance in East New York's schools does not bode well for the future. Compared to their peers, struggling readers exhibit less self-confidence, increased anxiety, low motivation for learning, and lack of self-efficacy. Long term, they are more likely to perform poorly in school, drop out of school, and/or not attain higher education; face greater employment challenges; and are heavily over represented among delinquents and incarcerated individuals. Not surprisingly, the high school graduation rate in East New York is less than 40%.