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From the Founder's Desk

LaChaundra M. Graham, MSM, MBA, DBA*

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Why mentoring by example? Because it’s how we learn. As children, we learn about life, character, love, trust, and the world from our parents and the other adults around us. Parents should set a good example through their behavior and actions. They should set high standards and communicate clear expectations relative to meeting those standards. Its’ also on parents to coach their children on being responsible, sensitive, and kind.  But you’d be surprised, or maybe not, to learn that kids today aren’t surrounded by enough adults who are teaching them these things. Kids don’t have the vast adult networks around them that that I know I remember having growing up. Many just don’t have a stable adult network at all.

Add to that – the news reports, articles, research, etc. - which all say that unsupported kids perform poorly in school.  That they will barely finish high school.  And even if accepted to college, are will not finish.  They won’t graduate.  Far more are even likely to not pursue higher education at all. And that saddens me.

There are lots of organizations out there that help kids in need including Junior Achievement for which I served as a Business Educator.  Junior Achievement was created to teach business basics to students.  However while the Junior Achievement program is amazing, when I first started working them in the late 90’s, the organization had minimal reach in urban areas. This is what led me to create this Foundation.  I wanted to bring a similar platform of business learning to the kids in the areas in which I lived. But I wanted my foundation to do more than teach them a class or two.  In addition to teaching kids about business, I wanted to connect kids with business mentors, entrepreneur opportunities, and actual jobs. I also wanted to address character education elements. And help parents.

To that end, the Mentoring by Example Foundation's priorities categorically are Education: improving the outcomes and capacities of youth and young adults; Empowerment: developing projects that help individuals, and the community at large thrive; and, Economic Development: investing in projects in and around the country that aid urban areas. I’m limiting the foundation’s focus to maximize impact. Education, empowerment, and economic development are the primary barriers preventing people from getting the most out of life. For these priority areas, the Foundations is developing and hosting innovative solutions to remove these barriers – new instruction tools for use in and outside of the classroom; a charter school design to demonstrate how education can be reinvented from top to bottom; a community clean project to aid neighborhoods in rehabilitation and restoration - to name a few. Regardless of the endeavor, as I see what works and what doesn’t, I will adjust the Foundation’s plans and strategies as well as publish the results to educate other organizations.

There are a number of ways that you can get involved and help.  Mentor. Foundation Business Partner. Volunteer. Donor. I’m extremely optimistic that change can be affected. By doing these things—focusing on these goals and creative innovative solutions— I believe that we can help kids, and their parents too, get the chance they deserve to live a productive, healthy, informed life! Won't you should join us in this quest?!?

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