The Problem

In 2007, Johns Hopkins University released a groundbreaking study in which they coined the phrase “Dropout Factory.”  The study revealed that more than 1 in 4 high school students were dropping out of high school.  The nation took notice and graduation rates are rising, but still about 1 in 5 students will drop out.  Considering that each high school dropout costs the nation between $600,000 and $700,000 through the course of their lifetime, it represents a real problem on many levels.

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Prison: http://www.vera.org/sites/default/files/resources/downloads/Price_of_Prisons_updated_version_072512.pdf
Teen Pregancy: https://thenationalcampaign.org/why-it-matters/public-cost
Drug Treatment: http://www.drugpolicy.org/docUploads/ndny_costeff.pdf
Medicad: http://kff.org/medicaid/state-indicator/medicaid-payments-per-enrollee/
Social Security: http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/SSIamts.html
Food Stamps: http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/avg-monthly-food-stamp-benefits/

Minorities and the poor suffer the most.  68% of blacks and 76% of Hispanics will graduate from high school compared to 85% of their white counterparts.  High school students living in low-income situations are five to six times more likely to drop out of high school than that of their peers and graduation rates are significantly lower in areas with higher percentages of families who are eligible for free and reduced-priced lunch. Additionally, children from single parent homes score lower on tests of cognitive functioning and standardized tests, receive lower GPAs, and complete fewer years of school.  More specifically, children from fatherless households are more likely to be poor, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, drop out of high school, and suffer from health and emotional problems.  Bridges must be built to help low-income minority males cross over to a better future.

From first hand program experience and research M.U.S.T. knows, the only thing holding many low-income minority males back is lack of opportunity to excel.  It is the firm belief of M.U.S.T. that if an environment to succeed is available and appropriate role models can be found, minority males will equal or exceed the national average for graduation rates, GPAs, and college completion. The results of the Mentoring Program so far illustrate this.  From an anonymous survey of Mentees and parents in the M.U.S.T. Mentoring Program and from conversations with them it can be seen that GPAs are rising, Mentees are talking about their futures in college, they are not re-engaging in illegal activity, family and peer relationships are improving, and they are becoming more active members in their community.  M.U.S.T. is passionate about breaking the cycle of poverty through positive role models and it is exciting to see that happening.