Known for its unique method to implement change, The Kalamazoo Promise is an anonymous donation of money for students working hard in Kalamazoo Public Schools. Graduates have the opportunity to attend a college or university in Michigan of their choice, for free.
Updating the community on the Kalamazoo Promise, Janice M. Brown, executive director of the Kalamazoo Promise, spoke this past Friday at Haworth College of Business. Speaking in the Dean’s conference room, Brown delivered an important message about the promise-While the Kalamazoo Promise gives students an incredible opportunity, the Promise is not just about money, but a tool to change Kalamazoo.
“It is a process that is trying to transform a community,” said Brown. “This is something that’s touching our whole community.”
Although 85% of Students attending Kalamazoo community schools are eligible for the Promise, students must be ready for College. Brown emphasized the importance of parents and the community to motivate Kalamazoo’s children.
“We believe that investing in our youth and our education is going to make a big difference for us,” said Brown. “Just because there’s money, doesn’t mean kids don’t need help from parents and community.”
It’s the community’s responsibility to implement achievement in students. Helping student’s motivation and gaining access to community programs that will develop children’s skill set, are crucial actions for community members.
According to Brown, for students to be college ready, parents need to be involved in their household. This is a difficult challenge for families below the poverty line.
Despite the large room to grow, the Promise has made a positive impact on Kalamazoo’s children. According to Brown, Kalamazoo Public Schools is the fastest growing School District in Michigan.
“Suspension in Kalamazoo Public Schools have dropped dramatically,” said Brown.
The quivering question: Is the Kalamazoo Promise ever going to run out of money?
According to Brown, the donors of the Kalamazoo Promise pull their money out of the bank three times a year, so the wealth will never run out.
If WMU students are not already helping the Kalamazoo community and are interested in Volunteering for Kalamazoo Public Schools, visit www.kalamazoopromise.com for more information.