SYF Celebrates 15 Years of Igniting Hope
In 1998, a collection of Simon Property Group employees saw problem – at-risk youth were falling through the cracks of the education system. Homelessness, teen parenthood, bullying and other life circumstances were preventing students from earning their diploma and ensuring a successful future. One of the founders Tim Earnest, Senior Vice President, Simon Management Group, Simon Property Group, helped formulate a system of working with public school districts and creating Simon Youth Academies to give these youth an alternative to the traditional high school. Here students would have the ability to work at their own pace and get hands-on instruction from teachers in a smaller setting. It worked.
Fifteen years later, there are 23 Simon Youth Academies in 13 states that work with more than 50 public school districts. Academies have graduated more than 10,000 students and done so at a 90% graduation rate, well above the national average. Simon Youth Foundation has turned around lives full of turmoil and difficulty into successful, productive men and women. Minimum wage, dead end jobs have now turned into the ability for one of these diploma carrying individuals to earn more than $350,000 in their lifetime compared to a dropout. All because a handful of SPG employees decided the status quo wasn’t the answer. They wanted a better future for at-risk youth and now it has become a reality.
Tim tells the story of SYF’s beginnings, present and future in this video. Pass on this testimonial to help ensure even more at-risk youth can see success and pass it on to the next generation.