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Ford Motor Company Fund Brings Driving Dreams Tour to Miami, Thousands of High School Students to Benefit

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Through an innovative initiative to encourage on-time high school graduation, Ford Motor Company Fund is offering $40,000 in scholarships and $40,000 in student prizes and grants to four high schools at Miami-Dade County Public Schools

- Motivational pep rallies and student support programs also will be brought to these high schools

- The program targets schools with a significant Latino student population and need; in the four participating schools, 78 percent to 89 percent of the student body is on a free or reduced-priced lunch


MIAMI--Sept. 17, 2013: The Ford Driving Dreams Tour, which promotes on-time high-school graduation and college enrollment, launched today with a series of high-energy, motivational pep rallies in four Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS): Miami Jackson Senior, Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior, Booker T. Washington Senior and Miami Senior.

M-DCPS has made remarkable progress in improving graduation rates for Hispanics and minorities during the past few years, and the FDD Tour is designed to boost these efforts.

"The Ford Driving Dreams Tour is giving our students a wealth of resources to motivate them to successfully complete high school on time and move on to college," said Alberto Carvalho, superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools. "This is an exciting time for M-DCPS – we've been making great strides – and we're grateful to Ford for bringing us this innovative initiative and helping us to continue to put our students first."

The FDD Tour brings existing Ford Motor Company Fund educational initiatives and partnerships to a community to create a deep impact for schools and students. The innovative program utilizes several elements to engage students: motivational pep rallies, scholarships, contests and prizes, as well as leadership and peer-to-peer student support programs. The contest reinforces the importance of pursuing a dream and giving back to the community while igniting school spirit through a healthy interschool competition.

"We look forward to working with partners CNC and ASPIRA to inspire students to take advantage of their educational opportunities," said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund. "Ford has a longstanding commitment to education and investments in programs that help build communities."

For the "What Drives Your Dream?" essay contest that launches this week, Ford will award five prizes at each of the four schools. The top essays, selected by a panel of educators and community leaders, will enter a public online video competition. One finalist from each school will win technology prizes and work with a producer to develop a video based on their essay. Starting next spring, the public can vote on their favorite video. The winner of the online vote will receive a scholarship for $5,000, and a $4,000 grant will be donated to an approved school program of his or her choice.

Seniors from the participating high schools also can apply for college and post-secondary scholarships. Ford Fund has partnered with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute to provide $10,000 in scholarships for students in the four high schools. The deadline for seniors to apply is April 16, 2014.

Ford has partnered with the Cuban National Council and ASPIRA to support and augment youth programs coordinated by these partners in the participating schools. CNC's Alpha Youth Program, currently serving students in Miami-Dade, is a career-prep program that links at-risk youth with career assessment, counseling, employment opportunities and other supportive services. ASPIRA FL provides student counseling, leadership training, community action projects, and peer-to-peer groups teach students how to become effective leaders in their communities.

The Ford Driving Dreams Tour launched in 2012 with the Irving Independent School District in Irving, Texas, reaching nearly 9,000 students. In the 2013-2014 school year, the Tour is visiting 10 high schools; four in M-DCPS; four in the Dallas Independent School District and two in the Fort Worth Independent School District.

For more information on the Ford Driving Dreams Tour, visit Ford Scholars Driving Dreams .