Less than three years after graduating college in 1989, Jim Ziolkowski quit his corporate finance job at GE and started buildOn, an organization dedicated to building schools in impoverished nations and after school programs in America's inner city schools.
When families gather for the holidays, it can be an opportunity to tell stories and pass on memories. For the St. Louis-based Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration, that provides a possible treasure trove for young people to build writing skills and forge strong family bonds.
Every year, The Grannie Annie publishes a volume of family stories written by students in the fourth to the eighth grade.
In Missouri, the average student loan debt for people between 25 and 34-years-old has increased by about 120 percent over the past eight years. In Illinois, that number has jumped more than 140 percent, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Nationally, student loan debt has topped the $1 trillion mark, surpassing credit card debt and auto loans.
Imagine going to a school where less than a quarter of students are reading on grade level and a third of your classmates will never make it to graduation. Many students in the St. Louis area do not have to imagine because that is their sad reality. Until recently, students in these failing schools have been trapped unless they could afford private school tuition or they could move to a different school district.