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

Anna Populourum

Anna Populorum

senior at Vernon Malone College Career Academy

“As a student, I’m told where I need to go, but not how to get there. What kids like me really need is guidance. We need a community that is supportive and open to students. We need a community that understands that most kids are very eager to learn and are desperately waiting for inspiration to ignite within themselves.”

President & CEO, America's Promise Alliance
President & CEO America's Promise Alliance

Adults are used to being experts. Too often, they’re certain they know what young people need. Though often well-meaning, these adults don’t stop to ask young people if a new building or block scheduling or new technology or exit exams will help motivate them to achieve.

Tonya J.  Williams

Tonya J. Williams

Manager, Media and External Relations

On Tuesday, April 26 America’s Promise staff members Eboni-Rose Thompson, Erica Turner and I  attended the College Signing Day event, featuring  First Lady Michelle Obama as part of the Reach Higher initiative.

Keren Agurcia

Keren Agurcia

Senior Aquinas High School in the Bronx

I never imagined that I’d be in the same room as First Lady Michelle Obama—but that’s exactly what happened at

Janiel Richards
Digital Commerce Design Developer IBM

I was born in Trinidad and began my life in America at the age of two. Like many families, my parents came to New York seeking the American Dream and a better future for me and my sisters.

Odunola Ojewumi
Trustee America’s Promise Alliance

Often times, it’s older adults speaking about what’s best for young people. But America’s Promise passes the torch to youth for us to decide what’s best for our future.

President & CEO, America's Promise Alliance
President & CEO America's Promise Alliance

In 2015, the Citi Foundation and America’s Promise selected 12 organizations as inaugural grant r

Grad Nation

Get the run down on why youth leaders should apply for youth leadership opportunities at America's Promise.

Rachael Tutwiler Fortune
Director of Alliance Engagement

A few weeks ago, 175 young people in grades 5 through 12 attended Youth Day at the Capitol in St. Paul, asking well-researched questions and offering clear opinions on the availability of before- and after-school programs for students from low-income families, voter turnout, access to quality data, and high school graduation requirements.

Kent Pekel, Search Institute

Kent Pekel

President & CEO Search Institute
A decade ago, the National Research Council released a report that showed that between 40 and 60 percent of U.S. high school students are disengaged from learning and don’t put much effort into school. Since that time, other studies have found that student motivation is a problem at all levels of the educational system, and that students’ desire to learn decreases steadily from the start of elementary school until they graduate from high school or dropout
Tray McGhaney and Mentor
Student Participant Urban Alliance

I first joined Urban Alliance, a program that places high school students with paid internships, my junior year in high school. For the first few weeks, before we actually started our internships, we had pre-work—workshops that consisted of different topics such as professionalism, how to dress, and manage your money.

Jonathan Zaff Executive Director
Executive Director  Center for Promise

Here’s what we know: Nearly 500,000 young people leave high school without graduating each year because they face too many barriers with too few supports and too little flexibility.

Here’s what we wanted to find out: Can blended learning – which combines online learning, supervised learning at a brick-and-mortar location, and at least some student control over time, place, pace and educational path – make it easier for students who have left school to re-engage and get their diplomas?