And as if this was not powerful enough, we did something unique — asked the youth themselves to voice their own reasons and reasoning for engaging in Project 5117, for their future. When we got to this particular young man, asking him what he wanted to get out of the program, and what he saw his the vision for himself, he simply said "I want to wear a suit like John Hope Bryant." Boom. And there you have it. Reaching our young people is not rocket science, but it starts with asking them what they actually want, and then working to help them achieve. A special thank you to Michael Johnson, principal of George Washington High School, who literally gave the student to suit jacket off of his back to help him visualize his dream, right then and there.
5MK (5 MILLION KIDS) co-chair Quincy Jones says "it takes 20 years to change a culture," and then I added that "in the last 20 years we have made dumb sexy. We have dumbed down and celebrated, and we have to make smart sexy again." We must make smart cool, so kids want to start in school.
This is where we start. We start, right where we stand.