Back in 1992, when I was campaigning for school choice in South Central Los Angeles, I visited Dr. Anjim Palmer, founder of an all-black private school. He told me he was of course in support of school choice. But, then he taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life. He asked, “Who are you?” He explained that a lot of folks come and go through the neighborhood selling one thing or the other, but they usually don’t stay very long. He asked, “If you care so much about my community, where were you when my wife died, my daughter got married, I built this school and so on? Where will you be when this campaign is over?”
He made his point loud and clear. If I care so much, then I must make an investment and be in it for the long haul.
That lesson has stayed with me ever since and it is at the root of why I started GEO Foundation in 1998–22 years ago. I want to build long-lasting and meaningful relationships with the families I seek to serve and support. Having made this commitment, I’ve enjoyed watching children grow from kindergartners into adults and start their own successful careers and families. I’ve also been able to support school choice policy changes and help support meaningful improvements in several communities.
With that in mind, you can imagine my smile when I came across these two Facebook posts this past week from two of my alums. Calvin Kennedy is a 2015 Gary grad. In his post (above left), he shares that he not only graduated from college in four years time, but that he got a great job managing four Lowes stores in NY and is now working for United Health.
Jeremiah Tate, above right, is a 2012 Indianapolis grad who went to Rose Hulman and graduated on time and was recruited to be an engineer for Intel in Portland, Oregon. He shared in his Facebook post that he recently accepted a job at Microsoft to work on their cloud computing services.
I can go on and on about a lot of our alums and their success and I’m blessed to be able to do so. And Dr. Palmer was right. Life is so much more meaningful when you stick around and see the fruit of your labor. I count Calvin and Jeremiah, and many other alums, as my friends now. My life is a lot richer because of them.
GEO is committed to the families and communities we serve. We are in it for the long haul. The seven schools, our more than 500 staff members, and 3,600 students and the families they represent in Gary, Indianapolis and Baton Rouge are proof positive of our commitment. We are being asked to grow in both enrollment and in number of schools….and we will. But we will never lose touch with the families we serve.
If you are looking for long lasting and inspiring relationships and success stories and want to help us grow and serve more families, consider becoming a member of GEO’s Team 500. Our Team 500 consists of donors who understand the power of quality education and that it is important to help our students experience real college while in high school. Team 500 members contribute $1,000 per year to help one student with the costs of college while in our high school.
Our students come from some of the most challenging neighborhoods in Gary, Indianapolis and Baton Rouge and yet they beat all odds, graduate from high school on time, and go to college. Our students beat their peers across the state when it comes to college and career readiness, too. How? Because we support them. GEO’s Team 500 supports them. Join the team today. Consider clicking the donate button below. You will be very glad you did!