As a young kid, I was a bit of a talker. By the time I was in first grade, my classroom outbursts led me to be labeled a behavior problem.
Luckily for me, my second grade teacher Mrs. Watson realized that my “creative energy” wasn’t being channeled in the right way. She helped me use my flare for the dramatic as an advantage — not an impairment — by casting me as the female leading role in our class play. I have her to thank for providing me with the right start at a very early age.
But since not all young kids have a Mrs. Watson, we must lean heavily on the many organizations that give children the resources and tools to succeed in life and stay in school. Organizations like…
- iMentor, which uses its iMentor 2.0 YouTube channel to showcase stories about real mentors and the students’ lives they improve. It helps connect audiences to the true-life stories of mentors and mentees from across the country.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which used Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic to their Day for Kids online pledge. By leveraging these active social media networks, they’re increased awareness about a core element of their campaign to establish stronger relationships between adults and youth.
Increasingly, nonprofits that invest in the futures of our children are finding that communications channels like blogs, vlogs (video blogs), Twitter and Facebook are helping them spread the word faster. And we need the word to spread like wildfire.
I recently read the National Governors Association’s “Achieving Graduation For All” and learned that dropouts cost the U.S. more than $300 billion annually in lost wages and increased public-sector expenses. And that the U.S. ranks 20 out of 28 among industrialized democracies on high school graduation rates. In the wise words of America’s Promise Alliance Chair Alma Powell, “The well-being of our children has a direct bearing on their success in school and beyond. It shapes their futures. And the kind of future children enjoy determines the future of nations.”
The role of communications isn’t only to raise awareness about the individual successes of an organization, but it can help elevate the urgency of the dropout crisis, highlight viable solutions and show how caring adults and others can help.