Your ZIP Code Should Not Determine Your Success

I used to be the Executive Director at an inner city, non-profit after-school program in Gary, Indiana. We helped students of all ages with homework, mentoring and computer access. Like too many largely black communities in this country, Gary was impoverished, crime-ridden and suffered from very low education rates.

We sometimes lent our space to charter schools to hold their lotteries.

Our first lottery was big. Hundreds showed. There were 200 spots available and about 800 applicants. Not all those people crowded into our small accommodations, but the ones who did come were nervous and excited. Naturally, when all the names had been called many parents and guardians who didn’t hear their student’s name were visibly upset. One elderly lady who knew me from our program touched my arm. She was weeping.

“Is there anything you can do? We need this. My grandson needs this so much! I can’t send him back to that school! Isn’t there anything you can do?”

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