Be Great: Graduate Program

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Green Bay mentoring program expanding across state

by: Kris SchullerPosted: Nov 9, 2019 / 08:41 AM CST / Updated: Nov 9, 2019 / 08:41 AM CST

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) A local program aimed at making sure kids at risk graduate from high school is making a real difference. And because of that success “Be Great: Graduate” is being expanded across the state.

In 2010 the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Green Bay launched a long-term mentoring program called “Be Great: Graduate” to help students at risk of dropping out to stay in school.

“An intense focus on helping our most vulnerable teens develop confidence, make good choices and graduate from high school with a vision for success,” said Interim Executive Director Eric VandenHeuvel.

And VandenHeuvel says data compiled over those years – shows much success.

“Ninety-two percent of the students that have enrolled in this program the last nine years have graduated from high school on time,” he said.

Now thanks to $2.8 million in new state funding “Be Great: Graduate” is expanding into 17 communities across Wisconsin, to support a thousand more vulnerable students.

“Every student, every child in the state of Wisconsin has value,” said Michelle Langenfeld, superintendent of the Green Bay Area Public School District.

For years the club has been working with area school districts like Green Bay, providing one-on-one mentoring at their club facilities. But now graduation specialists like Brittany Casanova will operate right within the schools.

“We have an office, we have a caseload of teens and we’re working with them every single day,” Casanova said.

“That student will have a path, a purpose and a person who is solely dedicated to their success,” said VandenHeuvel.

“It’s a really, really good partnership, that is showing significant results,” Langenfeld said.

Like graduation rates almost 10 percentage points higher than the state average, proof of success for a program about to expand.

The program is in place in the Green Bay, Howard-Suamico, Denmark and Ashwaubenon school districts


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