A Corporation For Needy Kids

Michael Nolan, founder of Kids Corporation, Jane Clayson CBS

The inner city streets of Newark, N.J. might be the last place you'd expect to find a buttoned-up, corporate trial attorney, reports CBS News Correspondent Jane Clayson.

"Yeah, well, there's not a lot of us walking around in suits and ties here," says Michael Nolan, founder of Kids Corporation.

Nolan represents some of the biggest corporations in the country. But he's most comfortable serving these clients — underprivileged kids from some of the toughest neighborhoods in America.

Thirty years ago, Nolan had an idea.

"I was a dreamer," Nolan says. "It's all about kids — run in a corporate format."

He started "Kids Corporation," a non-profit program that provides summer school, day camps and a year round of after-school classes for the neediest kids in Newark.

"Ninety-seven percent of our kids are under the poverty line," Nolan says.

Although funding is down to critical levels, Nolan manages to provide books, school supplies and high expectations.

"In six weeks, they'll improve their reading level," says Nolan. "On Average."

The secret?

"More teachers. Smaller classes. That's what will make the biggest difference," Nolan says. "I'm just trying to prove the point, and I'm relentless about it."

Seven-year-old Naidear is catching up on math he missed during the school year.

"They want us to get a good edu...edu...education," Naidear says smiling.

After four days of work in the classroom, the kids are rewarded with a day trip to a traditional summer camp, with nature hikes and obstacle course. But even here, it's not just fun and games.

There are also a variety of medical exams. For some, it's their first trip to a doctor.

"They're not going to learn to read if they can't see," says Michaela Murray-Nolan. "They're not going to learn about math if they have exposed nerves in their mouth."

Michaela Murray-Nolan runs the Kids Corporation's camp. She's also Michael Nolan's daughter. A second generation "giver" totally invested in her father's crusade.

"I call him Mike at work, I call him Dad at home," she says. "I wake up every day and I know that I have a chance to change a life, so why not?"

It's a question he wishes more people would ask.
  • Melissa Cheung

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