CNN recently proclaimed that Charlotte, North Carolina epitomizes the New South, asserting that “small-town charm and Southern hospitality are ever-present, but in a bustling, modern city with a lively arts and entertainment scene.” Indeed, Charlotte has a booming banking industry, is one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, and received national attention this in the fall of 2012 as the host of the Democratic National Convention. However, Charlotte is also home to stark economic and educational inequality.

Indeed, there is very real disparity in educational opportunities between low-income students and their more affluent peers. While Charlotte’s most affluent high schools can boast nearly 100% graduation rates, several of Charlotte’s lowest-income schools graduate less than 60% of their students. The Charlotte Observer reported in 2012 that 62 of Charlotte’s 159 schools have poverty levels of 75 percent or higher, with 23 of those at 90 percent or higher.

Charlotte’s low-income communities bear the obvious scars of gangs, drugs, violence, fatherless homes, academic underachievement and the crushing weight of generational poverty. UrbanPromise is committed to involving teens in the process of transforming their neighborhoods through the tutoring and mentoring of the younger children in their communities. We believe that, through the UrbanPromise model, a new generation of young leaders will develop and affect spiritual, economic, and social change in their neighborhoods and the city of Charlotte.