SaulPaul was honored to inspire and entertain the hundreds of leaders from around the country who are working to get all young people ready by 21 – for college, work and life at the Ready by 21 National Meeting. Leaders in attendance have dedicated themselves to improving the odds for children and youth through collective impact initiatives, policy alignment and program quality improvement. He shared his story as well as music and wowed the crowd with his impressive on the spot music making skills. He was excited to welcome all the attendees to his home town of Austin – The Live Music Capital of the World.

Photo after SaulPaul’s performance with a group of Ready by 21 attendees from Houston, Texas.

With the goal of ensuring all children and youth are ready by 21, essential topics such as defining and ensuring readiness, promoting equity, increasing shared commitments and impact, improving program quality and supporting social and emotional learning (SEL) skills – were highlighted during the conference.

SaulPaul shared the stage prior to Dr. Shawn Ginwright from the Cesar Chavez Institute for Public Policy and San Francisco State University Associate Professor of Education / Author, “Hope and Healing in Urban Education” and “Black Youth Rising, Activism and Radical Healing in Urban America.

“He brought a face to what we are talking about and shared how he overcame. He gives me hope,” said one audience member about SaulPaul’s performance. SaulPaul is set to visit Ready by 21 sites this upcoming summer.

About Ready by 21
Ready by 21 uses the Readiness Target to frame a vision for what is meant by “getting youth ready.” RB21’s perspective is that ALL children and youth should be supported in their efforts to be academically and vocationally productive, socially and civically connected, and healthy and safe.

RB21 shares the commitment to help young people be academically and vocationally productive – seeing to it that they graduate from high school, and go on to some form of postsecondary training that equips them to succeed in the workplace. RB21 also knows that young people’s readiness is contingent upon them being healthy and safe, both physically and emotionally, as depicted in the outer ring of the target.

Ready by 21 places special emphasis on that middle ring in their Readiness Target – socially and civically connected – and champions the importance of those “soft” skills that research is increasingly showing are linked to both avoiding risky behaviors (keeping kids healthy and safe) and succeeding in school. While there are many names for this ring and few measures, this ‘connectedness’ is critical to being ready for college, work and life.

No matter what measures you use, RB21 believes that we need to do better at helping all young people grow up ready for college, work and life. Raising “ready” children and youth requires a steady stream of supports from families, schools and communities to ensure that young people are not only problem-free, but also fully prepared and fully engaged.