Introducing young people to the real-world application of concepts like diversity, collaboration, conflict resolution, and leadership is energizing and empowering. Common Ground brings high school students together from urban and suburban schools to provide a forum to exchange ideas, experiences — and laughs! In this age of being constantly “wired in,” the value of genuine interpersonal connections has never been more significant.
"Common Ground really changed my life. I am friends with people I never would have met. They are now more than my friends: they are my family."
For three decades, thousands of Common Ground students have developed new skills and understanding. In fact, these program graduates prove to be more comfortable and involved in diverse communities than others. The shared experiences and interactive curriculum provide a format to directly address challenging topics like stereotypes and “isms.” Participants directly apply their new leadership skills and personal growth experiences to planning and implementing a community-focused service project that they design and organize together.
"I loved getting to work on a community service project with my peers in the Common Ground program. People think teenagers aren't motivated to change the community — but look at us. Look what we have accomplished!"
More about Common Ground
The semester-long program begins with a weekend retreat, followed by weekly sessions held from 3:00 to 6:30 p.m. in a central corporate setting; free transportation is available. Student participants are identified by collaborating high schools and each school provides staff to support and assist them.
Students interact with peers from different backgrounds and communities, gain exposure to new skills and become familiar with principles of effective group leadership. These soft skills build a foundation for success after high school and are highly valued by employers. A career forum, a multi-cultural celebration, and a high school exchange are all eye-opening opportunities that contribute to this transformative experience.