ROCKFORD (WREX) -- The future success of student isn't determined in a day
"They don't decide one morning when they wake up as sophomores in high school 'I am going to drop out of school'. They have been thinking about that probably since 5th or 6th grade," said United Way of Rock River Valley Vice President Linda Sandquist
It's this mentality that sparked the Move the Middle initiative.
The program was created by the United Way of Rock River Valley to help middle schoolers get on track to graduate high school.
The program includes a partnership with Lincoln Middle School.
The partnership was implemented in August and advocates say it's helping them understand their students better.
"When we really started to look at the data for 6th grade, we realized there is a need for a lot of social and emotional needs," said Achievement Advocate Nicole Bennett.
Nicole Bennett is the Achievement Advocate that works with 6th graders at the school.
She is a certified social worker and says the program has been able to give 30% of the 6th graders at the school resources they may need to deal with things affecting their everyday lives.
"If a student is dealing with a large amount of grief, we know that that grief is just going to sit there. And that's going to impact anything they do, impact the way they interact with students, interact with teachers," said Bennett.
With advocates zeroing in on these issues, the program has created a new relationship for students.
"What we have seen though is that students are very comfortable going to the achievement advocate to get some support especially with their mental health," said Sandquist.
Bennett will be working with the same group of kids next school year while they are in 7th grade.