We are in the midst of a distressing and depressing era of public education. The City of Philadelphia does not have the resources necessary to adequately educate it’s public school students. Public officials, in a desperate attempt to raise money for things like paper, pencils, glue, crayons and rulers, are trying everything short of a “fish fry” and a black light “rent party.” Mayor Michael Nutter has announced the formation of the Philadelphia Education Supplies Fund to raise cash for the Philadelphia School District. Also, Interstate General Media, publisher of philly.com, The Inquirer and The Daily News, is teaming up with Global Citizen, the city-based civic engagement organization, to gather the aforementioned school supplies from public donations through Oct. 25.
Consequently, those of us interested in motivating young people to remain focused on academic pursuits are being challenged to think outside the “box.” The box, after all, is empty. For the past fifteen years, I have helped some of the finest Philadelphia high school students and student-athletes prepare for, and transition to, college. Over time, the process has become much more difficult and challenging. While college admission requirements and NCAA eligibility standards have become more restrictive, resources available to Philadelphia’s students have been drastically cut. The outcomes of these trends are easy to predict.
Looking toward the future, Pennsylvania has allocated $400 million for the construction of a new prison complex, while the School District of Philadelphia faces a $300 million budget deficit. As a society, we have decided to prepare for the days when we “catch” the current crop of underserved schoolchildren engaging in delinquent and criminal behaviors. Sadly, in Philadelphia the path to incarceration is much easier than the path to higher education.
But, what about the kids that want to learn? What about the students that want comply with rules and exceed expectations? The mission of the Bright Baller program has always been to “catch” and reward those kids for doing the right thing. For many of our youth, athletics is a primary motivating factor behind the pursuit of academic goals. The Bright Baller Program has helped many area kids leverage their athletic prowess and gain access to some of the finest colleges in the country. I am pleased to announce that Bright Baller has formally partnered with myGZPoints.com and together they will provide:
1) Free full-length practice SAT/ACT exams to participating HS, AAU, Pop Warner, Little League, PAL and other youth serving organizations;
2) Discounts at local and national businesses for students and student-athletes with strong attendance records and good grades;
3) Tickets to local college and professional sporting events for participating organizations;
4) Free NCAA Clearinghouse analysis for student-athletes with potential to play at the NCAA Division 1, Division 2 or NAIA scholarship levels;
The primary objectives of this joint venture are to expose hundreds of Philadelphia area students and student-athletes to the college application and admission processes, educate them about NCAA and NAIA eligibility requirements and help them accurately assess their own individual predicaments.
If students and parents understand the requirements in 6th, 7th and 8th grade, they will be far more likely to meet them in 12th grade. Indeed, the Bright Baller myGZpoints.com partnership will provide tangible rewards to students who pass all of their classes and attend school on a consistent basis. The aim is to “catch” and reward young students and student-athletes for doing the right thing. Positive behaviors will be rewarded early and often. On far too many occasions, students and parents become aware of the requirements after it’s too late to improve grades and test scores.
This problem will only become worse under current conditions. Many School District of Philadelphia high schools no longer have guidance counselors, assistant principals, or other critical staff positions. Pennsylvania’s public officials are preparing for the logical outcome of these deficiencies. This past summer, the District terminated 3,783 employees or just about 1 out of every 5 people who work daily with our kids. Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is currently recruiting Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Vocational Teachers, Corrections Barber Instructors and, of course, Corrections Officer Trainees. Clearly, the state is ready to intervene and “catch” young people when they go astray.
But, what about the majority that are trying to achieve academically and make a positive contribution to society? Who is going to advise college bound students? Who is going to ensure they are taking courses that will lead to NCAA eligibility?
The Bright Baller myGZpoints.com partnership will not be able to help everyone. However, if HS, AAU and youth organization coaches are willing to participate in the program we will help a lot of students and parents understand what they need to accomplish.
If you have a team, student or student-athlete interested in participating, please contact me via:
Facebook – Delgreco Wilson
Twitter – Delgreco Wilson
LinkedIn – Delgreco Wilson
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org