The Buffalo graduation rate is 47 percent. The rate for Black/Hispanic and immigrant males is 25 percent. And 45 out of 57 Buffalo Schools are failing.

At-risk children usually have one or more of the following characteristics: retention in grade level, poor attendance, behavioral problems, low socioeconomic status or poverty, low achievement, substance abuse or teenage pregnancy. These factors are also closely associated with dropping out of school.

Mentoring programs like the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project (founded in 1993 by Frederica S. Wilson) has been shown to help students achieve better grades, establish attainable goals and enhance their self-esteem when partnered with caring, supportive adults.

This evening, when the Buffalo Board of Education meets, there will a vote on a resolution co-sponsored by two board members, Ralph R. Hernandez and Lou Petrucci, that only needs five more votes to begin moving this very important initiative forward and begin the process of dealing with the crises facing the youth in the Buffalo Public School District.