Do me a favor — all who read this, please send this on to 10 people you know, and ask them to do the same. And once they read it, ask them to go to www.FIVEMILLIONKIDS.org and make a commitment to DO SOMETHING for our children. If this does not impact you, and make you want to “do something,” then nothing will. Read on….
I volunteered and taught a class over at Morningside High School in Inglewood recently. When I was teaching my BOOF curriculum, the lesson turned into something extraordinary. One of the students made a remark “I don’t know why you are teaching us about money. We live in the jungle and nobody there goes to college. And even if we wanted to we wouldn’t be able to because we are black”. The discussion that resulted from her comment was remarkable. All of the kids opened up about the obstacles they faced at home and on the streets (i.e. drug addict parents, poverty, peer pressure and racism). My heart went out to these kids. So I put my curriculum worksheets down, and told them that I was going to explain this to them my own way. At first, the students were resistant. They told me that I didn’t know what they go through every day because I didn’t live in the ghetto and because I’m not black. While they were right about both of those things, I could still relate, because I know what it was like to struggle and be judged. I explained to them that single mindedness, determination, dedication, self-belief and the inability to ever give in are what distinguish people who do great things with their lives from those whose dreams die with them. The conversation continued this way for most of my teaching session. And by the end of the session, they all told me that they wanted to go to college. One of the students even told me that I had “gotten into his head” and that I can come every second period to talk to them for the rest of the year.
However I’m sure that as soon as my hour and forty five minutes with them were up, they crossed paths with many people who will in minutes try and undo everything I did in my short time with them. John, these kids are brighter and more capable then they believe themselves to be. The only thing holding them back from being successful adults, and living up to their true potential are themselves. They have allowed their peers, society, their environment and in some cases their own parents, to beat them down and discourage them. They are surrounded by people who don’t expect them to succeed and have convinced them that they can’t. These kids want to do well. But finding the motivation to do so, isn’t easy for any of them. I know that you are a very busy person and that your schedule must be hectic. But I was wondering if you could give these kids some of your time, by speaking at their school. Not so much on Financial Literacy, but on why it’s important to never give up. These kids need all of the positive reinforcement they can get.
Regional Program Coordinator
Operation HOPE, Banking On Our Future
707 Wilshire Blvd, STE # 3030
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213-891-2900 EXT 224