Grant provided Real World Experiences for more than a dozen teens
and open doors to new opportunities and brighter futures

SCRANTON – The Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania has been recognized with a $3,200 grant from the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens to fund real world experience programs that helped encourage them to stay in school and consider future career possibilities.  As one of 250 organizations to receive a portion of the $1.8 million grant from the Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs of NEPA hosted field trips to experience real world career choices and higher education possibilities.

Growing up in America today is tougher than ever.  The statistics are overwhelming: today, the average high school graduation rate is 75 percent – and for Latino and African-American males, that rate drops to 50 percent; less than one-third of eighth graders perform at a proficient level in math; and reading proficiency levels drop as students enter middle school.

The grant, awarded by the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, allowed a dozen Scranton-area teens to experience real-world activities that spurred them to stay engaged in their communities and inspired them to remain in school, working towards graduation.  Examples of these real-world activities included: a tour of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees Stadium followed by attending the game, and a tour of Johnson College, both which highlighted several higher education and career opportunities for the teens.

 “We are honored to be recognized by the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens for our unremitting commitment to teen graduation and success,” said Tricia DiBiasi Thomas, club executive director. “It’s because of partnerships like this that we are able to offer the type of real-world experience that ultimately helps inspire them to stay committed to earn their high school degree, dream big and be great.”

Programs and opportunities like the ones Scranton-area teens are getting to experience, thanks to the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, work.  According to a Harris Interactive Survey of Boys & Girls Club alumni:

  • 90 percent of alumni graduate from high school or obtain a GED.
  • Nearly two-thirds reported that Club staff contributed to their success in high school.
  • 70 percent credited their time at the Club as helping them discover subject areas they enjoyed.

“The teen graduation crisis is a major hurdle for America as we strive to remain an innovative and powerful global leader,” said Bob Fulmer, executive director of the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens. “The vital partnerships and programs we are funding today allow Taco Bell to help teens build a foundation for a future success through the vehicle of graduation.”


About the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens
The Taco Bell Foundation, Inc., dba Taco Bell Foundation for Teens (TBFT), a non-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation, is committed to addressing the growing number of high school dropouts in the U.S. by providing at-risk youth with mentors and real-world experiences that will motivate them to stay in school and achieve more in life. Since 1995, TBFT has donated more than $28 million to support teen programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of America and other teen-serving organizations with the help of on-going customer, franchisee and employee donations.  For more information about TBFT, visit www.tacobellfoundationforteens.org.

About the Boys & Girls Clubs of NEPA
The Boys & Girls Clubs was founded in 1899 and was located in the basement of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.  From its inception, the organization was non-sectarian and inter-racial in membership and administration. In response to social developments and recognizing a strong local need for services for girls, the club opened its doors to girls in 1981.  In 2000, the organization once again expanded services, locating extension sites throughout Luzerne County and was renamed to The Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Throughout the time the mission has remained the same: to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.  Today, some 1,000 boys and girls, ages six to eighteen years old, take advantage of the programs, activities, and services provided by our agency at our full-service Central unit in Scranton and our extension sites throughout Luzerne County and in lower Lackawanna County.


Taco Bell
Pictured are (l-r) Evelyn Evans, registrar; Lacey Hutchinson, Michaela Springer, Keasha Dillon, Dashawn Hogaw, Nate Jones, Cyrus Kizer and Lloyd Blackwell, director of athletics.