Official Blog of the Education Exchange Corps

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Education, Opportunity, and Now Employment!

Hello Supporters and Friends!

I have something SUPER EXCITING to tell you.

Tomorrow, the 2016 Education Exchange Corps Summer Leadership Academy starts up in North St. Louis City. We're going to have kids, instructors, construction paper, and even granola bars!

Now that's pretty exciting. But I have another exciting thing to share....

For the first time, most of our instructors are going to be late high school and college-aged kids.
And we are going to pay them. With money!

Let me tell you why that's pretty cool.

Poverty is a trap that does its best to keep people in it. Three huge areas of concern are education, access to opportunity, and employment. This summer, we are addressing all of those issues.


Our program lasts for three weeks in the summer. It's in the summer because oftentimes kids from families with less money can't afford to do summer stuff. Sometimes, those kids just have to sit at home, their mind-matter turning into a slushy fluff. Research has found that a lot of the academic achievement gap may be caused by the aptly named "summer learning loss."

We do academic activities with kids in the summer to fight summer learning loss. Like have kids launch rockets to another planet.

The K-1st graders boldly went where no kid had gone before.

We structure our program to put kids in charge of the world. Our Summer Leadership Academy is a deep simulation with a big board where our young leaders run governments. They trade with each other, rebuild after monsoons, construct roads, explore space, and, sometimes, go to war with other countries. Especially the 3rd graders. They will not hesitate to use force.

We also have a bunch of special guests who play a role in the game and help the kids make decisions.

The whole summer, we don't tell kids what to do. They make the decisions. They learn to lead. They learn how to be empowered in their own lives, they come up with ideas to make change in their communities, and we support them. They discover how to open up doors to opportunity.

Unemployment and underemployment is a big problem in areas affected by poverty. Teen unemployment is particularly high, especially among black youth. Every time I hang out with a high school kid, I get asked about jobs.

Well, let's make some jobs!

Many kids work to help out their families or to feel empowered. Sometimes, just having some spending money can go a long way. And acting as a national adviser at the coolest summer program ever looks awesome on a resume. Plus our paid staff will receive fun, not-at-all-boring financial training, and they'll be meeting some great special guests with some pretty cool jobs in the real world.

This summer, our special guests include: several Assistant Attorneys General, a federal judge, a public health expert, a news reporter, a communications specialist, elected government officials, nonprofit directors, a legal secretary, police officers, voter organizers, civic educators, and scientists!

The challenges our young leaders will face include: global climate change, human rights, Candy Pox (our version of Zika) and the Olympics, sugar terrorism, Catapultimate WMDs, Brexit, protests, and civil rights.

Blerch, the leader of the sugar terrorists.

You know what else is SUPER EXCITING? You can help us do all of this.

When you donate, you're doing some awesome things for St. Louis.

1) You're helping teens get job skills.
2) You're helping kids learn how to run the world.
3) You're giving kids a creative learning environment that purposefully empowers them.
4) You're enabling us to expand the program so we can reach more kids for more time, help teachers think of ways to empower their students in their classrooms, and bring kids of diverse backgrounds together so we can help end division and build a fairer home for everyone.
5) Granola bars. They are so good.

Press the button. Change the world.

Thanks for your support. Together, we are building a better future for all of our kids.

Sincerely Yours,

Elad Gross
President and CEO
Education Exchange Corps