I've been involved with a foundation here in New York the last couple of years that tutors poor urban kids and places them in some of the best private schools in the Northeast.
Our group, called the Oliver Foundation, had its annual recognition ceremony last night and I came away inspired. Every year one of the graduating seniors addresses our little gathering and last night a young man from Queens named Stephen Anderson got up, spoke, and received a standing ovation. These young people we help are unbelievably courageous.
Stephen spoke of being the only student of color in his class — think about that for minute — and how through trial and error he found himself and a path to success. Stephen's a track star and hosts his own radio show — and from his poise and articulate delivery he's going to go far. He spoke of the lessons he learned from failure and that with risk comes failure and ultimately the measure of who we are. Wisdom from the soul of a 17-year-old heading next fall to Wake Forest.
It's inspirational to be sure, and frustrating at the same time. There are untold numbers of young Stephens out there, who with a little extra attention could be on their way to limitless futures. The dream in our little group is to help more kids and maybe someday spread our tutoring program to children who need preparation to get into some of New York's improving public high schools. If Stephen's dreams can come true, maybe ours can too.
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By Harry Smith