VYH Partners with United Way GLV on Truancy Initiative

We are proud to partner with United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley for an important initiative to reduce chronic absenteeism.  With help from businesses, Challenge 5, aims to cut absenteeism in Allentown schools.  This new program encourages youth to strive for less than school absences in a school year.  Children who are chronically absent from school are more likely to suffer academically.

Allentown School District has a chronic absenteeism rate of 22 percent, meaning more than 3,500 students are missing at least a month of school each year, Marci Ronald, executive vice president of United Way GLV, said.  Challenge 5 enlists community members, from bodega owners to church officials, to become “Attendance Ambassadors” and encourage kids to get to school. When they see a child out on a school day they are asked to remind them of the challenge and tell them to go to class.  Community members interested in volunteering or business owners who would like to donate incentives to the program can contact Sheridan at 610-807-5751.

The campaign is a partnership of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, Allentown School District, Allentown Police Department, Lehigh County Children and Youth Services, Allentown Art Museum, Communities in Schools, Full Circle Services, K/S MST, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, Pinebrook Family Answers, Promise Neighborhoods, Sacred Heart Hospital, St. Luke’s University Health Network and Valley Youth House.

VYH staff are playing a role in this initiative by promoting Challenge 5 to our clients and the community.  Valley Youth House’s Truancy Intervention Program (TIP) works with schools to identify youth that have missed 10 or more days of school each year.  To learn more about our program, click here.

Photo: HARRY FISHER / The Morning Call:  Lehigh County Youth Services Program Specialist Sharon Dunn (left) prepares to canvass downtown businesses with Valley Youth House truancy program supervisor Nikki Graaf as they leave a news conference at Central Elementary School promoting “Challenge 5: Strive for Less than 5 Absences ” on Monday, August 22, 2016.