Opinion

Insights from thought leaders working to improve the lives of America’s Youth

Julie Pham Headshot

Julie Pham

Youth Impact Network
I am a low-income, first-generation college student. My Vietnamese parents work strenuous hours in factories as assembly workers, rolling paper to adorn the windows of stores and making batteries to power electronics, all to make ends meet for our family.
Chaurice McMillan Boston Squared

Chaurice McMillan

Center for Promise Youth Researcher
As a child, I knew certain streets were dangerous, that police could not be trusted, and that stepping on someone’s shoes on the bus could get you killed. Community violence was normal to me, but not to my peers at school.
President & CEO America's Promise Alliance
President & CEO America's Promise Alliance
In 2016, I saw lots of possibility and lots of peril, too, and t fills me with a combination of hope and determination for the work ahead.
Erica Turner

Erica Turner

GradNation Writer
This story is part of the “90 for All” series, which examines the challenges facing traditionally underserved students, particularly low-income and homeless students, English language learners, students of color and students with disabilities.
Wendy Spence Squared

Wendy Spencer

CEO of the Corporation for National & Community Service

Twenty years ago, America’s Promise Alliance took up the presidents’ challenge to lead our nation in building a better future for our youth.

Mary Jo Marion

Mary Jo Marion

Executive Director of the LEI at Worcester State University
This article is part of the “What’s Working” series, which highlights promising practices for helping to close the graduation gap in communities and states across the country. To read other stories in the “What’s Working” series, check out Suspensions Don’t Work, So What Does? and Colorado Saved Millions by Investing in Counselors. Here’s Their Advice to Other States.
J. Gabriel Ware Profile

J. Gabriel Ware

GradNation Writer
“You should think about becoming a high school teacher. That’s what a Western Michigan University professor said to me—his graduate teaching assistant—after a group of students who failed the first exam handed in their second exam of the semester.
John Gomperts, America's Promise Alliance
President & CEO America's Promise Alliance
While the recent campaign and election moved fear to the forefront in a great many households, the uncomfortable truth is that for far too many young people in America fear for personal safety is an everyday occurrence.
Rosio Villalpando

Rosio Villalpando

Student, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo
Throughout my life, I have questioned why school seemed so difficult for me. Where did I go wrong? Where did my parents fail? Did those eight years living in Mexico set me back, or was it the lack of attention I received from my teachers who knew I was only a Spanish speaker?
Daniel Martinson

Daniel Martinson

AmeriCorps VISTA member GradMinnesota Initiative
As a GradMinnesota VISTA with the GradMinnesota Initiative under the Minnesota Alliance With Youth, my role sounds simple: support community initiatives dedicated to raising high school graduation rates and preparing young people for success in postsecondary opportunity, work, civic engagement, and life.
Melinda Hudson

Melinda Hudson

Sr. Advisor to Chair and CEO, America's Promise Alliance
When I walked into the government classroom at Thurgood Marshall Academy before last week’s election, I immediately noticed the teacher’s T-shirt: “Democracy is a verb.” I was there as an adult guest judge for the seniors competing in the Mikva Challenge, in which students give two-minute “soapbox speeches” about issues they care about.
Daquon Wilson

Daquon Wilson

Senior, Richland One Middle College
If you want to help students do anything they dream of, then become their advocate. Become their mentor. Become their support system. Become the need they require. It may be hard, but isn’t it worth it to save a child and mend their wounds?