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Photo Gallery | Toyota Funds Program to Improve Local High School Graduation Rates

According to the United Way, America is facing an education crisis with over 1.2 million children a year dropping out of high school. 

Toyota and The Boys & Girls Clubs of America are helping combat this current dropout crisis by forming a partnership, which launched Thursday to assist in the funding of youth education locally and nationally.

This celebration of education took place at Bowie State University with Maryland Governor, Martin O’Malley, former LA Lakers star, A.C. Green, who is a Boys & Girls Club alum, and more than 150 local Boys & Girls Clubs kids from Baltimore and DC on site.

At this event, students signed a pledge wall where they promised to go to college, and Toyota donated a car to the Metro Baltimore Boys & Girls Club.

“Toyota has a long standing commitment to our communities. We are very excited about the program we launched today “Diplomas to Degrees,” where we are providing a $1.5 million grant over three years to help provide tools, resources and support to Boys & Girls Clubs to better prepare teens to move from high school to college graduates,” explained Toyota Financial’s Vice President in Sales, Marketing, and Product planning, Mike Groff.

Through this partnership, Toyota associates will also volunteer as mentors and college coaches through local Boys & Girls Clubs in the region every year.

“It’s been a very rewarding experience. As a mentor, you discover that these kids have unbelievable talents, and you can be a small bridge between those talents and the real world. We meet twice a month to review all the different opportunities that some of these kids never thought were available,” said Toyota’s Greg Wilkin, who mentors at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

“Diplomas to Degrees,” was tested in ten cities over the past year and as of Thursday, will be available in more than 1,000 Boys & Girls Clubs across the country.

The main objectives of this program are to develop and discuss short and long-term goals, explore post-secondary institutions to familiarize teens with college, and foster supportive relationships with adults who will provide important advice to our future leaders.

“This program sponsored by Toyota Financial Services is having a tremendous impact on Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide. We know that academic success is critically important for success in life. Through this program, we are instilling this knowledge into our youth and letting them know that college is an option for them if they can get a great education,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Senior Vice President of Youth Development, Judith Pickens.