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Monday, April 29, 2013

Setting Students on a Path Toward College








A few days ago, I visited a small public, tuition-free, charter elementary school here in Denver. Not just any elementary school, but one dedicated to putting a diverse group of kids, many from a high-poverty, high-needs neighborhood, on a path toward college – starting at the kindergarten level. 

As I joined the students and teachers for their morning “pump up” drills, what struck me was the sense of pride in the school and its students, and their ability to achieve a bright future through education. Sitting with these kids, dressed in uniforms, took me back to my elementary school days in Haiti. It was there that I received this very same type of positive, achievement-oriented support, and the affirmation that with access to educational opportunity, anything is possible. This is something that has stayed with me throughout my life.

What I experienced in this small school in Denver is something that can take place anywhere in the world. For example, in my last blog, I mentioned that I met with a Western Union® Agent in Austria that actively participates in the Western Union Foundation Agent Giving Program. Through the program, this Agent supported an Austrian NGO project to help train female teachers at their Teacher Training Center in South Sudan, a country that suffers from an exceptionally high illiteracy rate – especially among females. Since it opened in 2008, the Center has trained several hundred teachers. Now, thanks to this support, South Sudanese children are being taught by teachers who once were unable to read and write themselves. These female teachers are important multipliers too, as they encourage families to send daughters to school and serve as role models for other women to become part of working society.

From the U.S. to South Sudan and all around the world, education helps create economic opportunity – lifting up individuals, families and entire communities. It helps support businesses and economies as people receive the educational resources and skills they need to find jobs and get ahead. Education is the surest path to hope and opportunity. It’s for these reasons that I am especially proud to be able to help redefine the Foundation’s philanthropic strategy around Education for Better, Western Union’s three-year commitment to help meet global education goals through secondary and vocational education. I invite you to join me in committing to support efforts to make access to quality education a reality for all.




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