February_2005_245Wow, wow… wow…

That is all I have to say after spending the morning today with New Detroit at Davidson Elementary School, an award winning elementary school in the motor city of Detroit, Michigan, teaching a Banking on Our Future course with my co-teacher and partner in empowerment, Shirley Stancato, president and CEO of New Detroit Download 01_banking_on_our_futurenew_detroit.mp3.

These 4th and 5th graders were sooooooooooooooo inspiring!  Anyone who wants to know what is best about America, and (need to have) reason to be optimistic about America’s future — should have been with Shirley and I in that classroom this morning. February_2005_248 Those kids — and those teachers, and that PRINCIPAL, Ms. Dianne N. Holland — were simply amazing.  The principal and teachers at Davidson Elementary School proved what I have always said…. "you don’t do business with governments, companies, or communities; you do business with PEOPLE."  It is people that make all the difference, and the impact of good people and solid, disciplined leadership (demanding the very best of our youth) was obviously at work and on display for all to see at Davidson Elementary today.

February_2005_252Of course, the real stars at the Banking on Our Future session today was the kids themselves.

Arabs, blacks, whites — all co-existing together as friends and classmates; just God’s children, …looking for a future fulfilled and a quality education. What a sight.

The morning began with a snowstorm, a television interview on the local lead morning show on Fox News with anchor Fanchon Stinger at 7am, February_2005_238_1 a breakfast with business leaders at 8:30am, and a bus trip of VIPs to Davidson Elementary School for the grand affair. A special thanks to all of the VIPs from the private sector and government that "showed up" at Davidson today. Individuals including one of our new partners in education in Detroit, Communities in Schools, a national non-profit organization, Dan Bully, Esq, director of the Detroit Public Schools Office of Detroit Compact and Charter Schools Monitoring, Faye Martin-Alexander, legislative counsel to Kenneth Cockrel, Jr., President Pro Tem of the Detroit City Council, along with senior representatives from Charter One Bank, Bank One, Fifth Third Bank and Comerica Bank.

February_2005_247_1 The "great" Mary Hagerty, senior vice president and chief of financial literacy for Operation HOPE, started the Banking on Our Future session with a general description of how the 4-module program works (checking, savings, credit, investment and the history of banking and the financial system) and then introduced me. After my talk with the 20-30 youth present, they got an opportunity to meet, hear, and ultimately talk with Shirley Stancato. After a 45 minute session the kids were asked what they learned, and needless to say, THESE KIDS ARE SMART, …and their answers proved that this "investment" of time, energy and effort was well worth it!

We will be back in Detroit in April, 2005, and we look forward to cutting the ribbon to our new Banking on Our Future, Detroit program office!

P.S. Hey Mary Hagerty great job!!February_2005_256_1

Onward, with HOPE


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