For our 21st Annual End of the Year Celebration, we chose the theme "Dare to Dream" as we thought that it was befitting for the occasion and where we are as an organization in our 21st year. It is through dreaming that we are inspired to achieve greatness and still provide desperately needed services in our great city. I am a firm believer that as much as we inspire our youth, they also inspire us.
As College Bound turns 21, I too can recall turning 21 and the celebration that ensued. I remember feeling quite liberated but also the new sense of responsibility. With this rite of passage into adulthood, I became more focused and likewise with College Bound we have become a more focused organization. We have consistently guided students through high school and are quite pleased with our 100% graduation and college acceptance rates. We also know that going to college is simply not enough so as we move forward, we will continue to refine our Virtual Mentoring Program to assist our students through college.
In the short time that I have been Executive Director of College Bound, we have had many successes. We also celebrated our 20th Anniversary with an amazing gala that brought forth many great minds for an engaging evening focused around excellence. We’ve made many friends and been able to sustain and grow our Academic Mentoring Program to effectively serve more students. This year we partnered with the Community College of the District of Columbia and the Department of Education and also opened a sixth site at the American Institute for Research (AIR) in Georgetown. Our newest site replicates the successful work place mentoring model that we started at Black Entertainment Television (BET) last year. Both sites allow employees to give back at their place of employment and have allowed us to make mentoring more accessible for busy professionals.
Through the support of the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS), I led our first group of students on an international study tour to the Netherlands and Ghana this year. Student leaders were able to visit the homes of Anne Frank and W.E.B. DuBois. Both of these individuals dared to dream in spite of the situations in which they lived. Looking at their lives, Anne facing the hatred of the Nazi regime and DuBois the oppression of racism, we can see that we are better when we can rise above our differences and never allow our dreams to die. Even in the face of oppression they both continued to dream of a better world.
During this journey, I have met some amazing people that clearly understand that we are all better when we have an educated citizenry. This commonality unites us as this is the mission and aim of College Bound. As College Bound grows older we will continue to look for ways to engage more people in our cause as we really are shaping a better world through the students that pass through our program.
Thank you for not only sharing the dream, but also working towards making the dream of college a reality for our students.