Program helps students succeed in high school

In response to the Nov. 13 News article on the initial results of the Say Yes to Education program in Buffalo, I would like to start by congratulating Say Yes on its success. I would also like to reiterate the value of community support for programs that bridge the gap between high school and college scholarship eligibility. Since 1987, Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection (HW-SC) has helped students stay in high school, achieve academic success and graduate. Our nationally recognized youth development program incorporates a multidisciplinary approach that addresses the core issues plaguing youth at risk of dropping out.

HW-SC relies on both community collaboration and school-based youth advocates who serve as mentors to our students. We partner with Buffalo Public Schools, Buffalo Promise Neighborhood, Say Yes to Education and local companies such as one of our employer partners, Wegmans, to tackle some of the most difficult challenges that students face outside of the classroom, including poverty, inadequate access to services, challenges at home and youth unemployment. HW-SC enables high school students to access the Say Yes promise of a paid college education by increasing their likelihood of graduating equipped with the skills needed to enter college and the workforce.

HW-SC currently serves 210 students in Bennett and South Park high schools, more than 99 percent of whom come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. In 2012, 75 percent of HW-SC students were promoted to the next grade level.

As we steadily drive results, we remain committed to helping students stay in school and successfully graduate with the skills and confidence they need to become college and career ready. We must coordinate our efforts to effect measurable, lasting change for our community. I look forward to continued partnership as our organizations work in concert to change the face of education in Buffalo.

Lamont Williams

Executive Director, Hillside Work-

Scholarship Connection, Buffalo