Official Blog of the Education Exchange Corps

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Above&Beyond Week 2: First Kids!

Week 2 for the Above&Beyond College Readiness program became an open house college counseling session. Three volunteers, including myself, were parked in a conference room at the Ferguson Library. We were ready to work with up to 50 kids and their parents, but word has been slow getting out to families.

When the first kid showed up, though, magic happened. She was a high school junior with tremendous grades, tons of extra-curriculars, and her eyes set on working with children as a career. And one of our volunteers was a teacher! We talked to her about resources in her community and college prep programs she was already involved in. We helped her make a plan of action to take home with her. She'll be talking to her college counselor at school about her goals and how the school can help her reach them. And she'll be coming to us on the Saturdays when she can make it to get help with the ACT.

Her mom was patiently waiting for her outside in the car. Daughter introduced me to mom, I introduced the program, and mom nearly jumped out of her seat asking for more information to give to her church.

Not long after, I met a librarian from one of the local high schools who was trying to get her students to be a part of the Ferguson Library's teen council. We talked about kids, the community, and how to get people interested in the college readiness program we are running. The librarian also will be spreading the word at her school.

When I came back to the conference room, I found another child and his grandmother being helped by the other phenomenal volunteers. This kid was a high school freshman who was dragged into our area of the library by his grandmother. But stroke of luck number two: He wanted to be a lawyer, and two of us were practicing attorneys! Grandmother asked most of the questions, but I wouldn't be surprised if she brings him back next time.

In one week, we went from zero kids to two kids. That's an increase by a factor of infinity!

And that's two kids who received individualized attention to help them achieve their goals, two kids who are a step closer to going from high school to college, two bright hopes for a future that is better than today.

I can't help but be hopeful for what next week brings.

Elad Gross
President and CEO
Education Exchange Corps

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