Where you live, what you can do and whom you know have always mattered when it comes to moving up the economic and social ladder. Fair or not, geography, ability and influence have long affected how far many Americans get in life.
On the key issue of why a young person would leave school without a diploma, researchers found that 25 different factors were mentioned over and over again, with abuse, homelessness and time in juvenile detention topping the list.
There are 350,000 disconnected youths in the New York metro area -- greater than the national average -- whose lives are very different from their peers. These teens and young adults find themselves isolated from society; they're on the outside looking in.
Recent research tells us the numbers; one in six young people in the U.S. between ages 16 and 24 are not in school and not working. I know something about the real people behind the numbers; I was one of them.
It has long troubled me when any population is marginalized and we don't benefit from their full, authentic participation and leadership in society. Recent advances in equal rights for our LGBT citizens are only a beginning.