Two days later as I parked my car and exited it, I ran into the kid playing football with some of the other neighborhood kids and when he saw me he immediately spoke, “Hi Mr. Medley.” Again I noticed that he said this with his chest poked out and smiling. I spoke back and walked up to him and asked him if he had learned anything in school in the past week and he said yes and that he had received two kites from his teacher. I surmised that the kites must have been some type of incentive/reward system based on the smile on his face and then he asked me, if he did well all year, would I get him something at the end of the school year? I looked at the young man and said, “Son if you continue working like you are doing now throughout the school year and you continue to do well, I will indeed get you something at the end of the school year. Words could not describe the look on his face when I gave him that response. Thinking about the kid later and everything that had transpired between us, I silently wept for this child and all of the others. It actually brought tears to my eyes as I thought about how important it was for this child to see someone who had “made it” educationally living right down the street from him; a professional educator right next door; one he sees at his school every day.
Why Black Flight to the Suburbs is Not the Right Move, an April 6, 2011 blog post written by a member of Rebuilding Your Community an educational-based community development program designed to teach citizens how to rebuild communities in distressed urban neighborhoods illustrates my point and is excerpted below: