b&b142 The Urban Alliance: Transforming the school-to-prison pipeline into the school-to-opportunity pipeline
Urban Alliance serves economically disadvantaged students on the verge of graduating high school, but are at high risk of not connecting to further education or meaningful work. We spoke with Stephanie Amponsah, the Executive Director of Urban Alliance in the Baltimore region, and Dedrick Asante-Muhammad (we interviewed him in episode 138), about the Urban Alliance’s program and the successes it has had and will continue to have.
If you know someone who could benefit from this program, or just want to learn more here are some links for you to check out:
Urban Alliance Video: https://vimeo.com/104318896
Stephanie: We survey our students, that’s one of the things we talk about is 94% of them saying, “I feel more confident around adults in an office setting. I know that maybe I don’t want to be a doctor anymore, or a nurse, or that maybe, yes, I do want to be an engineer.” So it begins to open up many doors that they maybe wouldn’t have thought of prior to being in this program.
Dedrick: The professional settings are so showing different types of job opportunities, but the only way you really learn about them is by being able to engage and see that, “Oh, people are paid to do this type of work, and I’m interested in that.” Those kids books where you have a baker, a police officer and what have you are not enough to understand what are the careers out there.
Dedrick: The holistic manner in which you are engaging these youth is just so impressive. I hear of programs that do financial education, or that do checking, or might look at employment, but the fact that you’re putting them all together, which is in the real world how we actually live and operate, is what makes your program so powerful.
Pam: I feel like the network of people and the community of people is what leads to a lot of success. Knowing that you have setbacks and you have opportunities to come back from those is not something everybody gets. And it’s not something that is easy to build, and, especially as a young person, if it’s not just around you, how do you even know where to start?