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YMTF is a partnership between the schools and businesses of Orange County, CA. Our mission is to help increase the high school graduation rate. To achieve this goal we send volunteers into the classroom to share with the students the importance of education and, in particular, the importance of a high school diploma.
Our organization consists of teachers and business people that plan and execute visits to local high schools. We send business people into the class room to have them share with the students details of their lives, their jobs, what their companies do, and, most importantly, the importance of education in their lives. YMTF provides information that the volunteers can use to discuss cost-of-living and the value of a high school diploma. Often, we find, the students have never thought about what it costs to live on his or her own. We try to send two volunteers into each class, so that the students hear a variety of stories. At the end of the class we hand out an evaluation form, so that the students, teachers and volunteers can rate the program. Usually, the students do not interact with the voluneers. As a result the volunteers often feel that the students were not listening, but when they read the evaluation forms and see how much the students appreciate the visit, they feel a great sense of satisfaction that they have affected someone's life. It is not unusual to get a comment such as, "I was going to drop out of school, but now I know that I can't afford to." Although we emphasize getting a high school diploma, YMTF also offers scholarships, worth up to $2,000 each. These scholarships are offered to those students that have shown the greatest improvement in their academic careers. Straight "A" students are generally not considered, because there are so many scholarships available to them. Students who started out with poor grades, but, for whatever reason, made a dramatic turn around in their academic career, are the ones sought for this scholarship. YMTF is an all-volunteer organization. No one receives a salary, expense account or any other remuneration. Our only major expenses are the scholarships, and a recognition dinner, held each May to recognize our volunteers, new scholarship winners and existing scholarship winners. Minor expenses, such as printing, copying, postage, are often picked up by board of directors members. We solicit and receive donations from our corporate sponsors. We also receive in-kind donations, such as poster, favors (e.g., pencils with our motto "Education is the key!") which we use in the visits.
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