Monday, December 7, 2009

Community Collaboration

A day doesn’t go by that I am not asked about what “we” can do to improve education and opportunity for all children. So, who is the “we?”

It’s me, it you, it’s parents, it’s teachers – it’s the community. We must encourage collaboration between the children, their families and those within the community, like Higher Achievement and other programs, who provide resources. At Higher Achievement, the community is what makes our program thrive. We solicit the help of local and national foundations to sustain our budget as we do this work; we use retired teachers, college students and young professionals to mentor our scholars; we rely on partnerships with the local school system to help provide a space and a means to run our program; we encourage our current mentors to tap into their personal and professional networks to ensure that every scholar has a mentor for every subject; and we reach out to local corporations who provide resources like field trips and school supplies for our scholars. Without all of these external resources, Higher Achievement couldn’t exist.

I am a strong proponent of enabling every member of our community to have access to opportunities to improve their lives, and enable them to fulfill their responsibility in a civil and democratic society. Our development as a community, and as a society, depends on each of us fulfilling our obligations.

At Higher Achievement, we believe in three main principles. First, that talent is everywhere. In every city, every community and every school, there are students who have the talent to do anything they set their minds to. Second, that intellect is built through effort. The more rigor a student approaches their academics with, the more they enable themselves to build intellect. And third, opportunities matter. Every chance you give a student to shine, is a chance that puts them one step closer to their destinies. As we believe in all of these principles at Higher Achievement, I also believe that we have the responsibility to use our talent to improve our lives and the communities we live in. By doing so, we increase our community’s potential to grow and develop and ensure that all of us are thriving.

This work of shaping our community’s potential is not just work that we need to do. It is our responsibility to do so. No ifs, ands or buts. We live in this community and it is our responsibility to make sure that we are building the kind of community our children will want to grow up in, live in, and make a difference in.

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