At Go! International, we recognize the importance of developing marketable skills through training and education. Whether it is providing the training one our community leaders need to perform better or creating programs with talented individuals with specialized knowledge to work with the community itself, we want to equip our people to profit from the opportunities before them and to create new opportunities for their own and other communities.
Right now, our language school and financial literacy programs are providing students in East St. Louis, Illinois with a big advantage in life and in the job markets. East St. Louis, is one of the poorest cities in the U.S. in terms of median household income with the highest murder rate per capita. Across most jobs, the average East St. Louisan earns less than the average worker anywhere else. These skills can provide a quality life for them in and of themselves, but when they are combined with other skills, they can really guarantee themselves a bright future and give themselves a chance to give back to the others who follow in the footsteps of their successes.
We currently have 60 foreign language students learning Spanish, French, Mandarin, and Vietnamese. Twenty percent of these students are learning two languages at once as well. We have partnered with a student volunteer organization out of Washington University in St. Louis from which we have received 16 language teachers. Almost all of our volunteers are native speakers, and we have also partnered with another organization to send our outstanding students on a foreign exchange trip for a semester when they turn 16.
Our financial literacy program comes from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. It is among the most robust programs available, and we implement it with 200 kids in East St. Louis from Kindergarten up through high school. This is a core skill to upward mobility, and we know that if we teach over 1,000 kids in East St. Louis how to manage their money and invest over the next 5 years, it will change the direction of the community.
We are working to add more programs and replicate our successes in East St. Louis in the other places we serve.