Local News

Futures For Kids Providing Additional Guidance To High Schoolers

Posted July 19, 2004

— Statistics indicate only 60 percent of students make it through all four years of high school.

Often times, guidance counselors are too overworked to help. A new program is designed to keep students in school and steer them to careers that are a perfect fit.

In addition to typical resource guides found in high school guidance counselors offices, this school year, many students will find an interactive Web portal called

Futures For Kids

.

The program was introduced at Raleigh's Athens Drive High this spring. In the upcoming school year, it will be available in at least 11 North Carolina counties, including Wake and Durham.

"Futures for Kids is brief, to the point," guidance counselor Jane Dodge said.

Students answer a few questions about their academic interests and personality.

"They ask you such things as if you're interested in science and math or finding ways to solve problems. It asks questions like how you interact with other people," said Rachel Gaffney, a rising senior at Athens Drive.

Once complete, students are linked to careers based on their interests. The program's leaders are most excited, because local businesses have signed on to help guide students.

"Once we identify what they're good at, then we can start linking them to all the local resources from mentors to summer jobs, internships and scholarships," said Geoff Cramer of Futures For Kids.

The program has already helped Gaffney.

"I've actually shadowed a teacher at a middle school and it really helped me a lot, because it was like what it would be like if I was a teacher," she said.

"By helping the kids figure out what they're passionate about and then showing them the opportunities that exist given they complete high school, it clicks," Cramer said.

Cramer hopes the program clicks in a way that keeps kids from dropping out.

Futures For Kids is funded totally from businesses; schools do not pay a thing. The program will expand to other counties as businesses sign on, and in 2005, middle schools will be added.

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