At-Risk Youth


At-Risk YouthThe Bowery Mission's children programs, Mont Lawn Camp and Mont Lawn City Camp, are changing the life direction of at-risk youth in New York City. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a child is defined as highly "at-risk" of school dropout if they are (1) living in a one-parent household where (2) that parent is a high school dropout, and (3) the family lives below the poverty line and (4) receives public assistance, among other factors.

Growing up in New York City can be hard for any child. It is even harder for youth at-risk of dropping out of school. Besides dropout, at-risk youth are at much higher risk of teen pregnancy, gang participation and other violent activities, and lower earning potential across their lifetime.

Mont Lawn Camp and Mont Lawn City Camp reach out with life changing programming to the 27% of New York City youth living in poverty. We have been helping at-risk youth since 1894. Today, we provide educational opportunities, mentoring, and summer camp adventures. We measure our progress against five criteria, which indicate to us that a child's life direction has been changed: connection to faith, connection to a caring adult and a positive peer group, commitment to graduating, and a plan for the future.

If a child you know is at-risk, please contact us at 1-800-BOWERY-1 (1-800-269-3791) or send an email. If you would like to help at-risk youth, please consider volunteering with us or making a donation.


Facts About At-Risk Youth in New York City

Here are only a few of the challenges facing at-risk youth in their communities and homes, threatening to hinder their opportunity for a promising future: 

  • Ten percent of all New York City households are headed by just a single mother – but out of all households below the poverty line, 39% are headed by a single mother. 
  • In 2008, the dropout rate in America was 10%, while in New York City 37% of the more than 1.1 million youth in the NYC public school system will drop out. 
  • Only 21% of NYC 8th graders can read proficiently, and only 26% can do math proficiently.  
  • Nearly 40% of youth in the Bronx aged 5-17 live in an impoverished family, and 30% in Brooklyn.