P&G GIVE Education event with John Legend

P&G GIVE Education event with John Legen

“They wait to plead their case…”

Those are the opening lyrics of “Shine”, a song that John Legend performed with the Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation choir from M.S. 390 in University Heights (Bronx) at a P&G GIVE Education press event that I attended earlier this week. The song gave me chills, because that is what I want for not only my kids but also for all kids – for them to be thoroughly equipped to be able to shine in life.

That is why I was so happy to learn more about the relationship between P&G’s GIVE Education and Communities In Schools.  At a blogger roundtable with Jim Leish  (Marketing Director, P&G’s GIVE Education), Dan Cardinali (President, Communities In Schools) and John Legend, I learned about P&G’s new philanthropic campaign GIVE Education that is trying to help keep more than 1 million kids in school.  Did you know that “every nine seconds of each school day, a young person drops out of high school in the U.S.”? Obviously, this partnership with Communities In Schools, a leading school dropout prevention organization simply makes sense. Also, don’t think that John Legend is just a celebrity showpiece for this campaign.  He was actually very passionate and eloquent regarding the importance of communities rallying around young people in order to give them the best future possible.

john legend communities in schools

I asked John what helped him to beat the odds in order to achieve academic success.  (After his parents separated, he ended up attending a public school in a not so great neighborhood.)  He mentioned parents and caring adults within the school system.  On, the parent note, he mentioned something that really stood out…that parents (in poorer communities) need to have higher expectations for what their kids deserve education-wise.  Zip codes should not determine the quality of education. Sadly, it does, but if parents can learn to expect and advocate for more, then the better off their kids will be.  Of course, this is all nice in theory. Unfortunately, many parents in distressed communities are so consumed with just surviving – especially in this economy – that their kids’ education falls to the wayside.  That is where the “it takes a village” mentality comes in.  There needs to be people in the schools and community who care about all kids – not just their own.  John shared that in addition to his parent, it was the school officials – his guidance counselor, music teacher and gym teachers – who had the greatest impact on him.  They cared and guided him through the educational system.  Now, all kids are not going to be “John Legend”, but who knows what they can be when given vision for their lives? Let them shine…

I know that without the love of education that my mom instilled in me coupled with people in the community who championed me on that I would not have the life that I do.  I really am grateful that for every time period of my life (that I can remember) that there was always at least one person outside of my family who had great expectations for my life.  Mentors, cheerleaders, whatever you want to call them…I think that everyone needs them – especially school-aged kids.

So, how can you help fight the drop-out epidemic?  Besides the obvious (mentoring, volunteering, etc.), there are two simple ways to help:

  1. P&G will be making a donation to Communities in Schools (CIS) for every coupon that is redeemed from their Sunday, July 31stspecial GIVE Education brandSAVER in your local newspaper. If you use P&G products anyway, please use those coupons. For each GIVE Education brandSAVER coupon redeemed, P&G will donate two cents to CIS. That sounds like a little, but those cents add up!
  2. Watch a video featuring John Legend and CIS students on the P&G myGive Facebook page. When you watch, P&G will make an additional 25¢ donation to CIS (up to $10,000).  How easy is that?

In any event, I hope that you will do one (or both) of the above.  Let’s all do our little bit to help all kids shine!

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