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

Stephanie Watkins-Cruz
Youth Board Member America’s Promise Alliance
If you work hard and remain focused, you can prosper. That was the dream with which I was raised, the American Dream. And in many ways, this dream mirrored my reality.
Kristen Harper headshot

Kristen Harper

Senior Policy Specialist on Education, Child Trends
Each year, roughly 6 million students with disabilities, ages 6 to 21, receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
David Shapiro
CEO MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
Nearly 20 years ago, MENTOR was proud to be a founding partner of the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future, the gathering that led to the founding of America’s Promise Alliance. That event gave a huge boost to the mentoring movement, resulting in a wave of first-ever local public funding for mentoring and the founding of many of our local affiliates.
Emily Kay

Emily Kay

AmeriCorps VISTA Member
Eliminating poverty and raising the high school graduation rate to 90 percent — these two goals are daunting. However, they’re the goals of the GradMinnesota initiative, as well as goals I am committed to working toward over the next seven months.
Julie Pham Headshot

Julie Pham

America’s Promise Youth Memeber
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

Former Intern, America's Promise Alliance
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 Spencer

Wendy Spencer

CEO 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

Graduate Student Western Michigan University
“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.
President & CEO, 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.