As the third poorest city in the US, the economic and racial divide in this community make it difficult for youth to expand their horizons. Nearly 6.2 million students aged 16 to 24 dropped out of high school in 2007. Statistics from the report show that one in five men were high school dropouts. A more recent report that examines black males in public education called, "Yes We Can: The 2010 Schott 50 State Report on Black Males in Public Education," ranks Buffalo the 5th worst large school district in the country when it comes to graduation rates among African American men. Data from the 2007-2008 shows only 25 percent of black males in the Buffalo City School District graduated on-time. Dr. James Williams, former Superintendent of Buffalo Schools, acknowledged the correlation between students who drop out of high school and the deadly violence that plague the inner city streets.
The Social Skills model reinforces basic social skills needed to be a productive member of the community. We teach students how to effectively search for and get a part-time job as well as formal and informal etiquette techniques. We also take a look at the social implications of youth violence and bullying to expose the true burden that violence has on everyone. We hope that these teachings will allow students to reconsider bad decisions when faced with hard choices.