Today’s blog post comes from Brenda Kittles, Development Operations Coordinator, Foundation and Corporate Relations.
“I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.”—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I had planned on visiting the new memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington, D.C. this past Sunday, on the anniversary of the march on Washington. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irene “blew away” that idea.
In remembrance of this momentous occasion, I have been thinking about the many leaders of the Civil Rights Movement who volunteered their time, and in some cases gave their lives to the cause. What were they thinking when they were faced with barriers? How were they able to go on, not knowing if their ultimate goal would ever be achieved?
Communities In Schools exists to help keep students in school and prepare them to achieve in life. The reality is that some students will be saved and other students will fall through the cracks. In our lifetime we may not see dropout rates decrease to a minimal level, but our work is important to ensure that strides are made to eliminate the dropout epidemic in our children’s and grandchildren’s lifetimes. It is during moments of uncertainty, when our faith is wavering, that we must find the strength and perseverance of individuals like Dr. King and others who knew they might never get to see the fruition of their hard work, but kept pushing until their last breath.
On Sunday morning, I watched the movie “King” on BET. It reminded me that every movement needs a leader. Our founder, Bill Milliken, has been a leader in helping kids stay in school for most of his life. Our president, Dan Cardinali, is continuously traveling around the country to advocate for students who might be at risk of dropping out.
Being a leader doesn’t mean that you have to travel outside your community or give more than you have, but being a leader can simply be sharing your passion with others and convincing them to act as well.
In your own communities, tell a young person about your career and why education was an important step in achieving your success. If you do not have as much time on your hands, a pledge of less than $200 helps a Communities In Schools affiliate support a young person for an entire school year. Or maybe you could talk to your local politicians about what they can do to help students stay in school.
Volunteer. Donate. Advocate. Students in Communities In Schools programs all over the country can use your help! Dr. King was just a young preacher chosen to lead an evolving movement, and now he is the first non-president and African-American to have a monument on the National Mall. We all have the potential to make a difference.
Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Having just marked the 48th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, I am reminded of this quote. I look at the life of Dr. King – cut short but purposeful in its entirety – and I think about what I am doing for others. I don’t know about you, but I would like to help the millions of kids that Communities In Schools works with have the resources that they need to succeed.