With over 500 murders in Chicago in 2012 and most of them occurring within low-income neighborhoods, the New York Times deemed it newsworthy to report on Tuesday that the murder rate so far this year was down 34 percent from a year ago.

If this were the only good news occurring in these communities, we’d have reason to see the futures that lie in store for the city’s low-income youth as bleak.

Think again.

There are in truth a lot of encouraging things happening in these neighborhoods.  Consider One Million Degrees, an exciting nonprofit that offers support and guidance to low-income students attending community college so that they will stay focused on school, graduate, and succeed in life.  Its stories of helping disadvantaged youth are moving.

The prospects for this organization to succeed in changing young people’s lives for the better are promising.  So far, 70 percent of One Million Degrees students have graduated from community college within three years.  Ninety-four percent of alumni are either working in high-demand fields, have moved on to a four-year institution, or both.

In May, Social Venture Partners – a group that vets among nonprofits to find ones that are entrepreneurial and primed to make a significant social impact – awarded One Million Degrees a $75,000 grant over three years.

Here are ways you too can contribute to this exciting cause: