February_2005_197_3 I met a guy — a very special man — today while in St. Louis, MO., giving a speech for Westside Missionary Baptist Church and Washington University (what a combination, by the way!). Download 01_remarks_before_the_westside_missi.mp3.  A man who in a very short period of time had a profound impact on my spirit. Inspired me actually…

His name is Mark Levison, Esq., on the surface just another highly successful and well paid attorney in a major urban city in America. But this would be a very simplistic, and in fact — highly inaccurate description of who Mark Levison really is… Mark is a true visionary, and an accomplished leader that gets a significant sense of fulfillment from "giving back."

You see, Mark is one of two individuals who saw the need to do something about the lack of hope, and jobs, amongst urban youth in and around St. Louis. It was through the vision, as well as the very real time and financial commitment of both Mark Levison and attorney Thomas C. Hullverson that the St. Louis Internship Program was given life in 1992.

The St. Louis Internship Program began in 1992 with a recognition that there was a need to expose underprivileged youth to jobs in professional settings where they could see the opportunities that existed. Mr. Hullverson even donated funds for professional attire for the first 52 interns, who worked that summer at area law firms.

Since the program’s inception, over 2,500 interns have been placed in the St. Louis area. The internships offer a realistic and motivating eight-week, paid work experience, benefiting both the employer and the intern.

Recruitment for interns begins each October. Candidates must have financial need, maintain at least a "C" average, and demonstrate good attendance and citizenship. An essay and two letters of recommendation must accompany each application. After successfully completing an oral interview, students are placed in the Prospective Intern Pool. Candidates must then complete 10 Saturday training sessions to become an intern. This thorough screening creates an exceptional pool of interns, with over a 95% high school graduation rate!!

The St. Louis Internship Program is currently being replicated in 37 cities throughout the United States.

The Bible says "where there is no vision, the people perish.." Thank God there was a man, …men, and later an entire community with vision, that made this great initiative possible for youth 

Like I said, " I was inspired" by my meeting with one Mark Levison. A man that is truly making a difference; a life, and not just a living…

Onward, with HOPE

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