Beverly Hills, CA (PressExposure) March 18, 2009 -- Thereâs a new gang in town-and it has nothing to do with the pricey digs or exclusive parties normally associated with the illustrious â90210âzip code. A group of celebrities, business leaders and entrepreneurs have joined Passions & Dreams Funding, Inc.âs âGang of HopeÂ®â in response to an alarming trend which has our nationâs future leaders becoming a part of record-high dropout and unemployment rates.
A recent report released by the educational advocacy group, Americaâs Promise Alliance, founded by retired general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell finds that:
Â· Almost half of all public high school students in Americaâs fifty largest cities fail to graduate Â· Every 26 seconds, a student drops out, adding up to a whopping 1.1 million students per year Â· Lack of positive role models/mentors is one of the top two reasons why students drop out of school
According to the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, 82 percent of the nationâs prison and death row inmates are dropouts. It is a proven fact that access to positive role models and mentors is the most important factor in improving kids chances for graduation and achieving career success.
These disparaging facts and statistics, coupled with the recent billions in budget cuts suffered by our educational system demands that we take action-NOW!
There is hope, and this gang is taking that powerful message on the road with a 6-city California bus tour promoting dropout prevention across the country with the launch of the global on-line community website gangofhope.com and âCatch Your Mentor on Video' contest.
This contest challenges students nationwide to reach out to successful role models in their communities by producing and uploading videos featuring them on YouTubeÂ® from April 1- April 30, 2009. The three videos with the most votes will win Grand Prize, 1st and 2nd prizes including supplies, scholarships and cash provided by corporate sponsors. The bus tour, led by Silva Mirzoian, Author and Producer of âJumpstart Your Lifeâ multi-media programs and gangofhope.com, will meet with political officials, business and community leaders at a school in the city of Bakersfield, San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, Modesto and Los Angeles, from April 20th-April 24th.
Actor John Amos, one of the gang members says âChildren are resilient, so if you feed them positive information and positive thoughts, you will encourage them to reach their ultimate potential, they will keep trying and ultimately reach their goals.â
Gangofhope.com provides kids a revolutionary way of learning, with unlimited access to positive role models and mentors such as John Amos through streaming online videos, which distinguishes it from traditional mentoring programs, where mentorâs are often prevented from participating due to schedule restrictions.
Since 1998 Passions and Dreams Funding, Inc. a 501C(3) public foundation has focused on building lives through building bridges for at-risk women and kids with personal and professional training programs. The Gang of HopeÂ® is one of it's programs offering internships, scholarship resources, onsite/online life-training courses, and ways to connect to global opportunities for teachers and students through its websites http://www.passionsdreams.org & http://www.gangofhope.com