This March, I traveled to Chicago for the National Schools Foundation Associations 12th Annual National Conference (NSFA). What an amazing opportunity to see education foundations from large to small come together, share ideas, and explore the important role they play in addressing the needs of students in so many different types of communities. If you are not a member of an organization like NSFA, I would encourage you to find an association to connect with.
Each education foundation serves to invest in the education of their community’s students in a different way. Some classrooms just need new computers and software. Others need scholarships to help their students pursue higher education. And yet others face even more complex needs in their mission to help struggling youth find their way through hardships, crisis, and violence.
NSFA closed their conference with a passionate and heartfelt presentation from Rodney Walker, author of “A New Day One: Trauma, Grace, and a Young Man’s Journey from Foster Care to Yale.” (ANewDayOne.org)
Rodney was a child born into adversity. He was one of many children brought into a world of drugs, poverty, and violence – raised on the South Side of Chicago. He was in and out of foster homes, hungry and struggling with school. Going into his senior year of high school he had a 1.4 GPA and was living on the streets. Struggling with everything life threw at him, Rodney met a mentor at his school and – through this mentor’s compassion, support, and patience – Rodney became determined to not continue down the path he was traveling. With determination and hard work, he graduated that year with a 4.0 GPA and was accepted to Morehouse College, then Yale, and now Harvard.
Think for a moment about the impact one… just one…mentor can have on the future of a student. What is your community doing to help at-risk youth? How can you become involved in being a mentor?
It was an inspiration to listen to this presentation. It was a reminder of how one connection can improve the future of another. If you want to view a condensed version of Rodney’s speech you can do so here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZr3agwQKlE&sns=em
Foundant has a number of education foundation clients who give grants and scholarships, improving the lives of others. We’re proud to play a small part!
For more information about NSFA and how they can help your education foundation maximize its success, visit https://www.schoolfoundations.org/about-us.