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Bank of America Grant Supports Youth Development in Chicago Public Schools

Oak Brook, Illinois, March 31, 2010 – Bank of America has awarded the Lions Quest program a US$10,000 grant to support growth in public schools throughout Chicago, Illinois, USA. The division of Bank of America in Chicago awarded the grant based on the program’s positive presence in Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

The Chicago Public School system currently has a high school graduation rate of just over 50 percent. More than 83 percent of CPS students are low income, and less than two-thirds of high school students met or exceeded standards for their grade level in 2008 and 2009, according to statewide testing.

“Youth in Chicago are some of the most at-risk in the US,” said Chairperson of Lions Clubs International Foundation, Al Brandel “But the Lions Quest program aims to provide these youth with the life skills they need to develop into healthy adults and build stronger communities.”

Lions Quest, a program of Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), recently entered schools in Chicago as part of a movement to develop students’ social-emotional learning. The program, for children in kindergarten through 12th grade, helps youth grow into solid citizens when they learn how to make responsible decisions, communicate effectively and avoid drugs.

Bank of America also has a long-established commitment to supporting youth. Investing in organizations that help develop leadership skills, educational achievement and civic awareness demonstrates their dedication to building a stronger tomorrow for future generations.

By reaching out to these high-risk students, LCIF and Bank of America are helping reverse some of these trends on a school-by-school basis.

Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School is the recipient of the grant money, which will provide the Lions Quest “Skills for Action” program. Tilden, a high school located on Chicago’s south side with a student population of 1,350, has a high drop-out/low graduation rate and the majority of students come from low-income families. The funds will be used to train 36 teachers and provide curriculum materials to 500 students. Lions Quest is currently present in eight high schools in CPS.

To date, more than 11 million youth have taken part in a Lions Quest classroom, and more than 500,000 educators and other adults have been trained to implement the programs in school and community settings. The program is active in nearly 60 countries around the world.

The program has drawn rave reviews from educators and high ratings from government agencies. Over the past 25 years, the program developer, school districts, universities, and independent research firms have conducted program evaluations. Results show improved achievement test scores; change in knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding substance abuse and violence; lower rates of disciplinary problems; lower risk of dropping out of school; as well as decreased use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

The collaboration between LCIF and Bank of America supports the positive development of youth in Chicago, bringing to the forefront the importance of programs in schools that teach students life skills and create healthy, responsible citizens for the future.

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Lions Clubs International Foundation is the charitable arm of Lions Clubs International, the largest service club organization in the world with 1.35 million members in 206 geographic areas and countries. LCIF was ranked by a Financial Times' study as the number one non-governmental organization with which to partner. Learn more about Lions Quest online at www.lions-quest.org.

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