A nonprofit founded in 1992

Boys of BELL program to provide single-gender learning experience for students in Baltimore, Boston & New York City

BOSTON - June 14, 2012- BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) announced today that it is expanding its single-gender summer learning program, Boys of BELL, to serve 400 scholars in Baltimore, Boston, and New York City. The program, developed in Boston, is based on BELL's co-ed summer learning program and is tailored to meet the educational and developmental needs the most at-risk students: males living in urban neighborhoods.

"New York City faces incredible challenges. Graduation rates for Black and Latino males are around 50%, and of those males that do not graduate, about 19% are deemed 'not college ready.' The Boys of BELL program is designed to provide a safe, enriching environment where boys can have mentors, can have a voice, can have experiences outside of the communities they live in to show them that they can achieve and succeed," explains BELL's New York Executive Director, Maritza Arroyo.

The Boys of BELL program will engage boys in rigorous academics and enrichment activities and include a focus on science, technology, and engineering. Boys will learn how to design video games, build robots, and lead a healthy lifestyle. The program will also include character development curricula, Dare to Be King, that addresses issues ranging from emotional literacy to accountability and leadership. Boys of BELL will operate for 6.5 hours per day, five days per week, for five weeks. Instruction will be led by certified teachers and supported by college students and male mentors hired from the host school community.

"Boys living in urban communities face significant obstacles in their journey to adulthood, including disproportionate rates of expulsion, suspension, juvenile incarceration, and assignment to special education," explains BELL's CEO, Tiffany Gueye, Ph.D. "Boys of BELL is designed to inspire boys to overcome obstacles and be successful learners and leaders in school and in their community."

The goals of Boys of BELL including increasing participants' literacy and math skills, and improving their social skills, self-efficacy, and desire to earn a college degree. This summer, the Charles Hayden Foundation, which funded the program's development in Boston, is playing a leadership role in bringing Boys of BELL to the Bedford - Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, where students from three schools in the neighborhood, PS 5, PS 35, and PS 21, will participate. The Open Society Institute's Campaign for Black Male Achievement is supporting the program in Baltimore at the Harlem Park Elementary & Middle School, while BELL is using contributions from several foundation and corporate donors to support program costs in Boston at the Kenny Elementary School.

About BELL

BELL, founded in 1992, is one of the nation's leading providers of quality summer and after school educational programs. It is committed to transforming the academic achievements, self-confidence, and life trajectories of children living in under-resourced, urban communities. BELL serves more than 15,000 students - whom BELL recognizes as "scholars" - in public schools throughout Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Detroit, MI; Newark, NJ; New York City, NY; San Jose, CA; San Rafael, CA; Spartanburg, SC, Springfield, MA; and Winston-Salem, SC. BELL's summer learning program has been independently proven by the Urban Institute to increase children's reading skills and parental involvement. BELL employs more than 2,000 teachers and tutors across the nation. Please visit www.experienceBELL.org for more information.