Official Blog of the Education Exchange Corps

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dear St. Louis: Why Kids Need Us and How You Can Help

Dear St. Louis,

What happens when we put kids in charge of the world?
We're going to find out this summer!
I started a nonprofit organization seven years ago when I was in college called the Education Exchange Corps, and we've been working ever since to give underserved kids better educational opportunities. 
Each summer, we run a free summer program for kids and families. We put kids in leadership roles and give them opportunities to work on reading, writing, math, science, art, history, and communication skills, all while making sure they're having a great time doing it. We chose to get involved with kids during the summer because it is such an important time for kids' academic development. If we can prevent kids from losing so much knowledge over the summer, we will go a very long way to better preparing them for school and, eventually, running the world.
The outpouring of support St. Louis gave to kids this year was beautiful and heartwarming at a time when St. Louis really needed it. St. Louis still needs your passion. Tens of thousands of kids in St. Louis are growing up without enough opportunity, without being empowered to make their lives what they want them to be, without feeling like they matter. We really can change that. I've seen what happens when kids get the educational attention they need. They do great!

We can make this a moment we look back upon as the time when we chose not to let kids fall through the cracks, when we chose to make St. Louis a fair home for everyone. The process won't be easy, but it is surely the right and necessary thing to do. We must care more about our children than our comfort. You all have done that, and you have my eternal thanks.

But the work is not done. Our kids need more than a one-year quick-fix plan. They need a society that always values them. They need our sustained love and attention for years and years. The results are well worth the time. There are few experiences more worthwhile than helping a kid succeed.

To help folks get involved, we've designed our program to be flexible. The person who can give an hour a week has a role to play, just like the college student or retiree who wants to spend five days a week helping in a classroom. This long-term effort will take all of us, and we want to give every passionate person an opportunity to help kids.

So this summer, we're putting kids in charge of the world. Our summer academy will be an immersive simulation in the ways of global management, teaching valuable academic and life lessons along the way. One of the best ways to help kids learn is to trust them to lead. We'll be working with a group of kids in the Hyde Park neighborhood of St. Louis City, an area that has been abandoned by a lot of folks over the years. Our kids are still standing, and they need mentors to stand with them.
There may also be opportunities to help again at the Ferguson Library this summer. We're hard at work on that now.We’re also working with other technology companies to hold coding workshops and a “hackathon” for kids this summer. The program is called “Hack4Hope.”And for next year, we’re planning to help kids, families, and teachers through our regular school year program.
We would be honored to have your help.

If you have love in your heart and patience of spirit, you can be a great mentor for kids. You don’t need prior training. You just need to care. We’ll help you with the rest.

I hope you are willing to stay involved, even if it's not with us. We're happy to help you find ways to make St. Louis a better home for all. 
And if you'd like to give your time to help the kids we're working with, please let me know. You can email me directly at or call me at 314-753-9033. Here's the description for our summer program:
Even if we're not the right fit for you, we'll try to guide you somewhere that would be great.

Together, we can build a better future. I hope to see you out there again, and for many days to come. Please do not hesitate to call on me.

Sincerely Yours,
Elad Gross
President and CEO
Education Exchange Corps

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