Education is a national platform that is often executed on a local level. This is why community based educational organizations are pivotal. As America continues in its education crisis, several organizations are committed to bridging the gap by providing resources that speak directly to the needs of our children. Whether your child needs a better school, extra help in the classroom or just tutoring after school, check out a few organizations dedicated to making them smarter.

1. A Better Chance
Established almost 50 years ago during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, A Better Chance is an organization dedicated to the academic advancement of young people of color, particularly in low income neighborhoods.  The program annually recruits 500 students and places them in college preparatory middle and high schools across the country. A Better Chance bridges the gap by providing opportunities to children who are “economically disadvantaged but academically able.”  Famous alumni include Grammy-Award winning singer Tracy Chapman and Hollywood actress Joy Bryant.

Proof: 96% of A Better Chance graduating seniors immediately enroll in college and 83% of alumni reported having earned a Bachelor’s degree.  
Participate: There is a three-step process that includes an application, fulfilling requirements like a B+ overall average and testing. Application process begins one year prior to enrollment.  
Power: Get started by visiting A Better Chance.

2. Communities in School
Every nine seconds a student drops out of school.  That’s why organizations like Communities in Schools exist.  One of the country’s top dropout prevention organizations, the program provides children in disadvantaged neighborhoods with a tight knit support system. Coordinators, who are enlisted by the participating school, provide support to at risk students and their parents by establishing relationships with healthcare agencies, social service providers, policy makers etc.  within the community.  Partnering with more than 2,700 schools in 24 states and the District of Columbia, Communities in Schools provides for the unique and sometimes complicated needs of students whose main focus should simply be getting a quality education.

Proof: 88% of students monitored by Communities in Schools were promoted to the next grade and 98% of students considered at-risk for dropping out remained in school.
Participate: Your child’s school must participate in the Community in Schools program.
Power: Find out if your neighborhood is located in a state with a Communities in Schools state office. Call 800-CIS-4Kids (800-247-4543) or visit Communities in School.

3. Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Research by Dr. Reginald Clark proved that higher -achieving students participate in activities that reinforce their classroom learning.  Boys & Girls Club of America seems to agree.  The national afterschool program, with clubs in every state, makes learning fun with activities like leisure reading, writing exercises, group discussions, tutoring and playing games that develop cognitive skills. Emphasizing academics, healthy lifestyle and good character/citizenship, the program provides students with a fun, learning and safe environment during the vulnerable afterschool hours (3-6p) and in the summer. An alumni, Denzel Washington is the national spokesman for the organization.

Proof: Last year, The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked Boys & Girls Clubs of America No. 1 among youth organizations for the 18th consecutive year.
Participate: No application or admissions process. All children ages 6-18 are welcome.
Power: Visit your nearest club or log on to the website to learn more.