Last night we had the opportunity to attend an event discussing the US education system, the efficacy of passionate teachers and how to improve the dwindling number of graduates in low-income school districts. The guest speaker of the evening was the talented (and handsome!) John Legend. John Legend is wildly known as being a philanthropist first and a successful musician second. He spoke at length about his struggles growing up in a middle-low-income family and how he watched so many of his peers drop out of school, limiting their potential. It was interesting listening to him speak because it definitely struck a chord with me. I grew up in the Bay Area of Northern California and was blessed to matriculate in an area where minorities made up 65% of our population. Here, the academic playing field was an even one. I remember thinking as a teenager, I can use this education to take me places I’ve always wanted to go, I just have to want it enough. We were offered the same opportunities and most of us (coincidently) took advantage of this and turned out to be pretty successful. This, of course, is not the same for all children growing up so I got to thinking about what I could do to help change things so that ALL children could have the same opportunities to learn and excel in life.
John spoke of his foundation, the SHOW ME CAMPAIGN, which believes that equal access to quality education is the civil rights issue of our time. The Show Me Campaign fights for education reform in the United States. In Africa, Show Me works with Millennium Promise to provide clean water, health care, education and other basic tools that break the cycle of poverty. You can even check out the campaign’s video below – it is SO inspiring.
I decided to donate to the Show Me Campaign to lend my support. I also took a look at their supporting partners and came across Stand.Org. Stand (for Children) is another fantastic foundation that has been around since 1999 and has helped influence policy and budget choices in 10 states, ultimately working toward bridging the gap between disadvantaged students and a quality education. I decided to also donate to this cause and look forward to their updates throughout the year.
Please take a moment to look into the programs listed above and remember that the best investment we can make for the most return is in our future.
Now, you can also enjoy some of John’s performances from last night – he was mesmerizing!