April 12th, 2005, and "A Day of HOPE with Andrew Young" in Atlanta, Georgia, is still resonating in my spirit. For the most I am still without words when I think about the entire day and try to put it into perspective.
The one thing I am absolutely clear on though is that the morning kick off Banking on Our Future teaching session at Jean Childs Young Middle School, part of the Atlanta Public School System and co-taught by Ambassador Young and myself, was probably the most touching and heartwarming of any I have done to date; on so many levels.
Of course the most important aspect of the morning was our official announcement of our landmark Operation HOPE partshership with Dr. Beverly Hall and the Atlanta Public School System to educate every middle-school child in financial literacy through Banking on Our Future over the next 5-years! The Bible says, "where there is no vision the people perish." God only knows we executed on a powerful and substantive vision on this day! We also announced similar partnerships with the Inglewood School System and the Compton Unified School System here in California.
And of course, Ambassador Young who shared many of his most personal stories with the assembled youth and VIP guests, including his days in Congress where he served on the banking committee and did not fully understand the impact of his own personal financial decisions up to that point in his life, was amazing. The kids — who were simply stunningly bright — were the most responsive and interested I have seen. Inspiring…. Simply inspiring.
And then there was my brother Bo Young, known to the world as Andrew Young, III, who co-chaired A Day of HOPE with Andrew Young with me, and whose idea it was to do the inaugural teaching session of our national Banking on Our Future Across America teaching marathon at the school named after his late mother. Bo shared some of the stories from his life growing up, and how all of that plays into his life decisions as an adult today, as CEO of Young Solutions, Inc., an envelope manufacturing company.
And a special thank you to Georgia Banking Commissioner David Sorrell and Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, one of the founders of our movement with Banking on Our Future into the state and who spoke in and morning and at lunch respectively, for their leadership and comments of support for financial literacy as America’s first silver right, as well as Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation, whose visionary efforts have underwritten our movement work in Atlanta.
Last but certainly not least, a special thank you goes out to our friends at Atlanta Public Schools, as led by Dr. Beverly Hall, superintendent of schools, Kwanza Hall, member of the Atlanta board of education and a member of our regional board in the Southeast, Kathy Augustine, deputy superintendent of schools, and the entire Atlanta Public Schools family for opening your hearts, minds and schools — to our vision. Bravo.
No doubt….a Day of HOPE to remember for us all, but only the start of our work!
Onward, with HOPE