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How We Can Curb America's Staggering Dropout Rate

Help City Year AmeriCorps members provide the extra care and attention students need to stay on track to graduate.

Most people would agree that starting a family is a major game changer. The second a child comes in to your life you are no longer the priority. Every bit of focus is about what’s best for your family, and you will do anything to provide them with the best possible opportunities in life.

I am no exception to this rule. I want my two young daughters to have everything they need to be successful—and I believe that education is the key to their success.

About three years ago I joined the board of City Year Los Angeles, an education-focused nonprofit organization that partners with public schools to help keep students in school and on track to succeed. In that time, I've seen cities across the country make great strides to improving education, but we still have a long way to go.

More than a million students give up on high school every year—that's one every 26 seconds. This is a pretty jarring statistic made even more staggering when we recognize the consequences these dropout rates are having on our economy. Low graduation rates mean a significant loss to our workforce. Unless we're able to graduate students at higher rates, nearly 12 million students will likely drop out over the next 10 years, resulting in a loss to the nation of $1.5 trillion. Cutting the dropout rate of a single high school class in half would likely support as many as 54,000 new jobs.

Thankfully, City Year has a solution. We know what the problem is, where it is, and how to identify and intervene with the students who are falling off the path to graduation.

City Year takes teams of young AmeriCorps members between the ages of 17-24 and places them in our city's highest-need schools to help students stay on track to graduation. Corps members work side-by-side with students and teachers, acting as tutors, mentors and role models, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. This year, 2,500 City Year corps members in schools and communities across the country will complete over 4 million hours of service.

As if their commitment to changing the trajectory of students in-need wasn't enough, what really makes City Year stand out is their impact. Last year, 85 percent of all students in grades 3-5 tutored by City Year improved their literacy scores, and 88 percent of teachers believe corps members have helped foster a positive environment for learning.

City Year provides results, and it's for the future of my daughters—and the future of all of our children—that I'm asking you to support City Year this holiday season. I've joined the Mozilla Firefox Challenge on Crowdrise with a goal of raising $50,000 for this amazing organization that will help make a brighter future for our families. Donate at least $27 to the fundraiser before Jan 11 and you will not only be helping our kids, but you will also be entered for a chance to win two tickets to the premiere of my new movie Identity Thief. This could mean you will be able to avoid having to actually pay to see me in a movie, while at the same time, wear that special outfit for a red carpet stroll!

Please join me and give the gift of a donation to City Year for the holiday and help us win the Mozilla Firefox Challenge!

Click here to add helping City Year win $50,000 in the Mozilla Firefox Challenge to your GOOD "to-do" list.

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