At 9:00pm on a recent Wednesday, Shekena Dallis answered a phone call from a student she mentors as a Youth Advocate (YA) in the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection program. A call so late on a school night was unusual, and Dallis worried it might be bad news—but the exact opposite was true. The excited student had earned a 4.2 grade point average for her recently completed third quarter at Suitland High School in Prince George’s County, MD. She was calling to thank the YA for Dallis’ tireless support, including offering plenty of encouragement whenever the student had felt overwhelmed. She told her Advocate that all the lessons Dallis had shared with her had “paid off.”

HW-SC’s Shekena Dallis

The YA-student bond is the foundation of the proven HW-SC program model that leads to dramatically improved graduation rates among participating students. To be eligible to join the program, these young people typically have socioeconomic or academic challenges that put them at a high risk of not completing high school. But in 2018, 93 percent of students who entered the program in grade 9 graduated on time.

Dallis’ favorite quote is “success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life, it’s about what you inspire others to do.” She knows that while we all can feel overwhelmed at times, dedicated Hillside staff and programs like HW-SC can inspire lasting differences in the lives of the students we serve.

Programs like HW-SC are a community partnership that depend in part on strong private support. Support Hillside today.

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