Reconnecting the Disconnected

Eight Million Stories (8MS), a nonprofit high school located at 3015 N MacGregor Way, Houston, Texas, exists to transform the lives of vulnerable youth (14 – 18 years old). Through education, skills training, employment, and authentic relationships, founder, Marvin Pierre established 8MS in 2017 to provide disconnected youth who have been pushed out of our school system with an opportunity to complete their education and obtain meaningful employment. 8MS strives to drastically reduce the recidivism rates of justice-involved youth in the city of Houston. The program’s success will assist school districts and the juvenile justice system in finding alternative pathways for students who are failing in traditional school settings. In 2021 Harris County Department of Education Adult Education Division has partnered with 8MS to offer workforce programs and GED prep classes to the students’ parents and the 3rd ward community.

Young people, especially young men of color, are disappearing—from schools, from communities and from the workforce. Fueled by zero tolerance policies and in-school policing, the school-to-prison pipeline is sweeping disproportionately high numbers of youth into the criminal justice system. For many, it is the start of a lifelong cycle of poverty and imprisonment: Juvenile-justice involved youth who lack support and employment prospects upon release often struggle to re-enter society and face a high risk of recidivism.

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