russell_simmons7.jpgRussell Simmons has joined forces with the Literate Nation Atlanta organization to produce three student events intended to encourage kids to stay in school. The non-profit, which was founded in 2005 by entrepreneur Hinton Dillard, serves to “motivate teens to get into high school and prepare for life.” In the metro Atlanta area, 43,000 students across 35 high-schools have scored at or below 900 out of 1500 on the SAT exams. The drop out rate in the same area ranges from 33 to 50 percent. “We, the non-profit and business community, must deliver to the students in these challenged high schools the same advantages students in Atlanta's private schools enjoy or this unbearable track record will continue,” says Dillard. “These advantages include constant inspiration, mentoring by successful professionals, a clear understanding of how the business world selects its employees, and access to college campuses.” Literate Nation Atlanta produces monthly presentations for high-school students featuring successful business people, writers and journalists such as author Nelson Demille, CNN anchor Melissa Long, and poet Nikki Giovanni. The presentations, which draw as many as 2000 students per month, are preceded by a one-hour life- skills seminar that teaches students about business, employment and pathways to success.