Brooklyn nonprofit “I Will Graduate” works to increase high school graduation rates

NEW YORK – More than 13,000 students from across the city are expected to fill seats at Barclays Center on October 24 for “I Will Graduate Day”, an educational gathering encouraging students to focus and stay focused on school.

“This is the biggest celebration of education New York has ever seen,” said Tonya Lewis Taylor, executive director and co-founder of the nonprofit I Will Graduate.

Akwasi Agyeman is what the program would call a success story. He got involved in high school. Now that he’s an adult, he’s back, hired after college as the new program and project manager.

“I Will Graduate was instrumental in providing me with personalized guidance that would help me achieve my specific dreams,” he said.

Program leaders say his story is exactly the kind of results they want to see.

“You know when you make a difference, when someone who’s been through the program says, ‘I want to help you take this and make it bigger,'” Taylor said.

Their scope includes social-emotional learning, test and homework preparation, tutoring, music and art programs, professional workshops, college tours – the list goes on.

They are also active in the community. Each week, council member Chi Osse hosts “Wellness Wednesdays” at Restoration Plaza in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and the nonprofit is settling in as part of its community engagement efforts.

For Agyeman, being part of the team is a moment of closure.

“You don’t necessarily have to wait until you’ve built up some financial capital before giving back to your community when you can just work in your community every day,” he said.

Since its inception in 2008, the program has worked with over 300 schools. Their one-day rally in October is expected to have a star-studded lineup, to be announced soon.

Got a story idea or Brooklyn tip? Email Hannah by CLICKING HERE.

Comments are closed.