Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘college’

Blog post by Reed Sandridge of Washington, DC

DSC_0131-4.jpg

Students at Let's Get Ready's Career Day in New York City (photo: Reed Sandridge)

Although his eyes seemed to dance around the room, I would later learn that Antoine was indeed paying attention.  Seated at a small table on the third floor of Robert F. Wagner Middle School on New York’s East Side, the soon to be high school junior’s mind was aldreay dreaming of places far beyond the walls of room 302 this past Saturday.

Antoine was attending Let’s Get Ready’s Career Day.  It’s a day that gives a diverse mix of high school students the opportunity to learn about a variety of careers from about 50 professionals who volunteered their time to share their knowledge with more than 250 young people who attended.  Founded in the summer of 1998 by Jeannie Lang Rosenthal, an undergrad at Harvard, Let’s Get Ready is a nonprofit organization serving communities in and around New York City and Boston whose mission is to expand college access for motivated, low-income high school students by providing free SAT preparation and college admission counseling.

“You think that one day I could have a job like you,” the young man from west Bronx asked me after I finished my presentation.

“Absolutely.  How are your grades?”

“Okay, I guess.”

“What’s that mean?” I asked him trying to get a sense of how he was doing in school.

“Well, last year I did real good: an A and mostly B’s.”

DSC_0124-4.jpg

Students took a personality assessment to help determine possible careers to explore. (photo: Reed Sandridge)

The 16-year-old, whose real name I changed to Antoine for this article, is one of 3.1 million young people this year who will be faced with the decision of whether or not to attend college after high school.  If you evaluate his situation based solely on drive, there is no doubt in my mind that he will go on to college.  He’s thirsty to know more and asked several excellent questions during the seminar.

I co-led a variety of sessions focused on helping the students understand their career interests through a personality assessment, interactive sessions about college, and tips on how to build and maintain a professional network so that they can land a job after college.  Originally I was only to be a speaker at the half day workshop, however, when their photographer wasn’t able to make it, I offered to stand in and try to capture some visual images of the day as well.  Click here to see the images I captured from Career Day.

The thermometer nearly broke the century mark that afternoon and there was no air-conditioning in the room that I was assigned to.  Exhausted and covered with sweat, I wrapped up my session and headed to the closing session in the main auditorium.  I got the chance to meet and exchange business cards (Let’s Get Ready supplied the students with cards that they filled out to serve as business cards for the day) with dozens of tomorrow’s leaders.

It was inspiring to talk with them and hear their dreams.

“I want to be a pediatric oncologist.”

“I want to be a social worker.”

“I want to work in television.”

“I want to start my own organization to help underprivileged kids.”

“I want your job!”

DSC_0093-4.jpg

photo: Reed Sandridge

After the event was over I stayed and spoke with several young people who patiently waited to introduce themselves to me.  I hope they all keep in touch, I will be checking in on them periodically too to see how things are going.  When the last student had left, I grabbed my bags and headed for the front doors.  Now dim and voiceless in the school, the heavy metal doors rumbled as they gave way to a sun-drenched sidewalk filled with the sounds of the Big Apple.

The success of Let’s Get Ready depends greatly on volunteers and donations.  If you would like to support this organization and help prepare our next generation of leaders, please visit their website and get involved!

Read Full Post »

Did you participate in Pay it Forward Day yesterday?  I did…I gave $10 to Rachel, a 22-year-old who just graduated from American University with a degree in graphic design and photography.  Here story coming on Day 352!

Today…we travel south to the picturesque town of Charlottesville, VA.  The town of 50,000 is located smack in the center of the Commonwealth of Virginia along the Rivanna River, a tributary of the James River.  It’s about 120 miles from Washington, but somehow we took the most backward way possible and spent 3+ hours getting there.  

So my brother, sister-in-law and I were going to meet up with my cousin Doug and his daughter Chelsea…what does that make us, cousins once removed, second cousins, anyway.  My dad also drove down from Pennsylvania.  Chelsea is a graduating high school senior and is scouting out colleges which landed them in at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.  They live in Colorado so we don’t get to see them that often, although come to think of it I have seen Doug three times this year, but anyway, you get the point.  They come in to town and we all thought it would be a good idea to meet up.  And my cousin Dianne was driving in the next day too.  It was fun spending time with family.

Anyway I found a family having a picnic lunch – it was a perfect afternoon for that – right on campus before the football game. 

Tyler is a freshman at UVA and his family is down visiting him from Northern Virginia…close to DC.  He grew up in Herndon, VA…I also lived in Herndon for a while.  Small world.

The 18-year-old economics major says that my cousin should choose UVA.  “It’s great here,” he said as he helped himself to some potato chips, “freedom is the best part!”  I can’t think of a more beautiful place to explore that freedom.  The campus is stunning.  The town is quaint and charming.  “And we’re in the top 5 in the country for soccer,” Tyler adds.

I felt a little like I just crashed their family picnic…which I did, so I tried not to stay too long.  I gave Tyler the money and he said he was going to buy some music with it.  “Probably some punk music.  My favorite band is Sonic Youth.”  

Tyler and his family enjoying their picnic.

Before I left he did have something for me to add to the Lend a Hand initiative.  “I could use an internship in the DC area for the summer.”   Hopefully somebody will see this and give this promising young man a chance.

On Tuesday I got this update from him via email:

I ended up ordering one of my favorite albums- “Psychocandy” by The Jesus and Mary Chain. I’d never gotten around to buying a physical copy of it before.” – Tyler S.

He won’t be able to make the Year End Celebration because he has a final exam that day.  Although we’ll miss him, it’s probably a wise decision.

Read Full Post »

Ben, me and Ian. I look ridiculous I know! (photo: Reed)

One thing I did not do enough of this summer is ride my bike.  I meant to meet up with Mark E. from Day 132 and go for a ride.  He is an avid rider and offered several times to meet up.  I did manage to get out a few weeks ago though and took my $10, notebook and camera with me.

Somewhere about a mile or so north of Georgetown is a place called Fletcher’s Boat House.  It was there I spotted Ian and Ben.

You can rent boats to go out on the Potomac River at Fletcher's. (photo: Reed)

“I’m officially a police officer,” Ian tells me.  “But I consider myself an EMT.”  It turns out he is quite the busy guy.  He is juggling classes at George Washington with his work as a police officer and EMT.  “I hope to go to med school,” he says in a steady confident tone.  Somewhere in all of that he finds time to get away and enjoy the beautiful crescent trail.  And let me tell you, it is stunning this time of year.

A senior at GW, Ben is figuring out what he wants to do.  “I’m leaning toward the music industry,” he says shrugging his shoulders a little bit.  He’s double majoring in philosophy and psychology, you’d think that this would help to give you the critical thinking skills necessary to figure out what direction to go in, but who knows, maybe it just complicates the entire equation. 

Ian's got his eyes set on going to medical school. (photo: Reed)

My notes say that Ben was going to use his $5 to buy some bottled water.  Next to that I wrote, “or deep fried H20” it looks like.  I have no idea what that means, I certainly don’t remember him saying that.  Let’s see if he checks in on the site and tells us.  As for Ian, he was going to put it toward his Metro fare card to get to his EMT station.  

I got a kick out of something Ben told me.  “Ian is time-locked in the 80s.”  That’s kind of funny, because if I do the math right he was born in 1989.  I guess that first year really influenced him!  “Music, TV-wise, movies….he loves Scarface,” Ben goes on. 

Ben needs our help to get an internship at a performing arts center. (photo: Reed)

Hey performing arts centers…Ben needs an internship.  Ideally he would like to get a programming or production internship at the Kennedy Center.  Shoot me a message or leave a comment if you can help Ben out.  Oh, and by the way, if there is dancing at the year-end celebration, I hope Ben comes.  Ian told me, “Ben can dance to absolutely any kind of music.”  Wow…the bar has been set pretty high.  Maybe instead of his internship he ought to try out for the show So You Think You Can Dance?

Read Full Post »

Giant at the corner of Wisconsin and Newark. (photo: Reed)

I was in Cleveland Park here in DC at the Giant grocery store on Wisconsin Avenue.  I hadn’t given away my money yet and it was getting late.  I had had some wine earlier that day on a picnic and was honestly not looking forward to giving my $10 away.

At the entrance of the grocery store I found Ryan and Samantha.  Ryan is a 25-year-old graduate of the University of Virginia.  Samantha, 22, is also a graduate of UVA.  They were browsing the movie titles at the automatic video rental machine.

Ryan and Samantha are both runners. (photo: Reed)

Both of them ran track and field at UVA.  They ran a variety of distances: 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 meters.  I think it was Samantha who said she also ran steeple chase races which consist of five barriers, one of which is a water barrier.  

“Ryan is a really good runner,” Samantha said.  “He just ran a race yesterday…8,000 meters.”  For those of you who are metric challenged, that’s just shy of five miles.  “So how did you do?” I asked.  Ryan was quite humble in telling me that he actually won the race.  I guess Samantha was right, he’s pretty good.

The couple decided to donate their $10 to the UVA Athletics Foundation.  Coincidentally I am planning to visit UVA in the coming weeks with my cousin and his daughter…who I guess is my second cousin or cousin once removed or something like that.  Anyway, she is a high school senior in Denver and is visiting potential colleges.  When they come out to visit UVA I am going to join them and we have tickets to the football game that weekend, so indirectly that $10 might end up benefiting me while I am there.  Work with me folks…use your imagination.

Ryan and Samantha donated their $10 to the UVA Athletics Foundation. (photo: Reed)

Anyway, some friends of Samantha and Ryan were waiting for them so I wrapped things up.  I almost forgot to take a photo and ran out into the parking lot and snapped a quick photo of them.

Read Full Post »

On Day 276 I had some company with me as I searched for a recipient.  A news crew from Spain’s television network CUATRO were following me around for a story they were doing on my Year of Giving.  We met at Illy Café and chatted for a short while before heading to a nearby park where I tried to give my $10 to a man sitting in the park.  He refused.

We then started heading north on 21st Street I think.  It had been drizzling all day but the rain started to pick up a little bit and we sought shelter under an awning that extended over the sidewalk for a few minutes.  I then spotted a young guy walking two dogs across the street and I thought I would approach him.

I ran over to Jake with the news crew chasing after me.

Jake was helping his girlfriend out by walking her dogs. They were cute dogs. I remember the dog on the right is named Georgia. (photo: Reed)

Jake is a local to the Greater DC area.  He grew up in Alexandria, VA and graduated from T.C. Williams High School.  Now, 29, Jake is studying psychology at George Washington University.

On this specific day he was taking his girlfriend’s dogs for a walk.  He said that he would probably use the $10 to sponsor a day of dog walking for her some day.  “Her dog walker charges $10 for a walk, so this will help her out for at least one day,” he told me.

Jake is 29 so he is not your traditional undergraduate college student.  I asked what he had chosen to do after graduating high school and his answer surprised me.  “Well, I came to GW and studied for a couple years but then I was drafted by the San Francisco Giants to play baseball in the 2002 draft.”  Wow…I guess I should tell you that I used to dream of playing professional baseball for the New York Mets so I was pretty excited to meet a professional baseball player.  No, I didn’t grow up dreaming about being laid off my job and giving $10 away…that just sort of happened.

Jake making a double play look easy. (photo: Matt Thornton)

He played for nine years in the minor league organization of the Giants.  He spent most that time playing 2nd base and shortstop for their AA and AAA farm teams.  “It was a great experience,” he shared with me.  “You learn a lot.  You are consistently setting a goal to get better, always working to get to where it is you want to go.”  He went on to say that the fact that he was playing for half the year and then off for the other half made it really hard to stay focused on those goals. 

Jake talking to the Spanish news reporter. (photo: Reed)

“People would always tell me that my baseball career was going to help me so much in my professional life after baseball,” Jake said.  “I’m sure it will…using what I learned about setting goals, the drive that I have.”  I have no doubt.  Professional sports are highly competitive and only the best like Jake can survive for extended periods of time.  When I used to hire sales people I loved candidates who were runners or disciplined in some athletic area.  They understand commitment and know that you will have to go through considerable pain sometimes to achieve their goal.  They don’t quit.

I did some searching on Jake and found this interesting clip.  Apparently it is not live footage from a game rather a commercial that was taped for Gatorade.  The announcer lists the Fresno left fielder as Jake and although he didn’t play outfield much, I have a feeling it is him since he played for Fresno.  I tried to confirm this with him but I must have written his email down incorrectly.  If you know Jake, please put me in touch with him.  Anyway, have a look, it’s a cool clip.

By the way, you may remember that I happened to give $10 to another professional baseball player in May, Anthony on Day 158.  It’s either a small world or I got to too many baseball games.

We said goodbye and Jake continued on his way with the dogs. (photo: Reed)

Read Full Post »

Would you believe that I managed to find two consecutive recipients who were originally born in Ethiopia?  Well I did!  Today I am excited to introduce you to Bekele!

I met Bekele in downtown Washington, DC at a parking garage where he has worked for the past seven years.  The first thing you notice about him is his radiant smile.  He is happy and makes you feel happy when you speak to him.  Although he is 47 and the father of four (including a 26-year-old son), he doesn’t look his age. 

Born in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, Bekele moved to the United States nine years ago to avoid social and political unrest in his homeland.  He has built a life here in the United States for him and his family.  “I am so happy to be here in the US,” he told me with a huge smile. 

“Being here has changed my life.”  Now a US citizen, Bekele decided to go back to school a few years ago and recently received his associate’s degree in accounting.  He hopes to find a job where he can apply the skills he has learned while at the same time work toward finishing his bachelor’s degree.

I am amazed at how well Bekele speaks English.  I have lived overseas and know first hand how hard it can be to speak another language well.  He grew up speaking Amharic, a Semitic language spoken predominantly in North Central Ethiopia.  I congratulated him for the effort that he has placed on his own education.  He shrugged it off.  It’s just another way that Bekele continually learns and educates himself. 

Check out this short video of my conversation with him.

I was cognizant that he was working and didn’t want to monopolize his time.  I asked where my $10 would end up and he smiled and said that he had not eaten lunch and would go and buy him something to eat.  We said good-bye and he left me with the same infectious smile that he greeted me with.

Happy belated Father’s Day to Bekele!

Read Full Post »

Last Tuesday was an exciting and busy day for the Year of Giving project.  As I went out on my journey looking for someone to give my $10 to, I was accompanied by a local TV news crew that is doing a story on the project.  I will let everyone know when the segment will air.

Another exciting element of Tuesday was that I was able to deliver some much needed clothes and shoes to Anthony from Day 67.  Maureen and Josh from PA sent him some shoes and socks.  Darnell from MD had sent me some items for Gregory from Day 71, but Gregory has disappeared.  I have not seen him for over a month and the local businesses near where he used to panhandle everyday say that they have not seen him either.  One of the items that Darnell sent was a brand new Tommy Hilfiger waterproof jacket.  I thought that it might fit Anthony and it did!  A big thank-you to Maureen, Josh, and Darnell!  Check out this short clip of Anthony receiving the items.

Then it was off to find the recipient of the day.  I headed over to the neighborhood of Georgetown and found Mariana.  She said she didn’t have time to participate and that she really needed more like $1,000 not $10, so I kept on looking.

Davenport, IA

Just a few seconds later I spotted a young woman waiting to cross Wisconsin Avenue.  Her name was Katelyn.  The 21-year-old from Davenport, IA, is a junior at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL, just 50 minutes south of Chicago’s Loop.  She has been in DC this semester as part of the university’s Study Abroad Program.  While here in DC, she has also had the opportunity to intern with Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Katelyn’s home state.

I asked Katelyn where she was headed and she answered that she was walking over to a boutique to pick up her dress for the Naval Academy’s Ring Dance, where her boyfriend attends school.  Let me stop and tell you that Katelyn has a beautiful smile.  When she started talking about her boyfriend and attending the Ring Dance, she was beaming. 

Katelyn (Photo: Reed)

I tried to take copious notes, but I may have gotten this wrong.  The Ring Dance is a special ceremony where the second class midshipmen, third year students, receive their class rings.  Their date wears the ring around their neck and then during the ceremony they dip the ring into water from all seven seas.  This is a pretty big deal for the midshipmen.  There is even a website that has a countdown clock letting you know exactly how long until the Ring Dance 2010 as well as the 2011 event!  If you were wondering, at the time of this post, it was 20 days, 6 hours, and 40 minutes.

Although Katelyn said she felt like she should do something greater with the $10, she said the money would most likely be used for lunch.  Her decision could have been influenced by the fact that it was 2:00 and she hadn’t had lunch and said that she was really hungry.

 I asked her what her thoughts on giving were.  She flashed her beautiful smile again and said, “I think it’s very important.” In fact, she was on her way back from volunteering that morning at Martha’s Table.  She also has volunteered her time at the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center, and other organizations.  

After spending this term in Washington, DC, Katelyn said, “I have learned a lot about myself.  I used to think I wanted to go to law school, now I think I might want to teach English.”

As far as those who want to help Katelyn, she thought of two things that people could help her with.  The first one is that she hopes to go to Japan sometime soon as her boyfriend’s sister is currently living there.  Katelyn would like some tips on how to get good deals for traveling to Japan.  Also, with her recent thoughts on her career, she would love to find an English professor who would serve as a mentor to her so that she can better plan her future in order to realize her goal of becoming an English professor herself.  Please leave a comment here or drop me a note if you have any advice for Katelyn or know of a potential mentor for her.

As I left, I spotted John from Day 40.  He said he was not doing well and had just been diagnosed with Cancer.  Every time I have met John, either someone in his family has died or he has been diagnosed with a new life-threatening issue.  You want to believe people, but this sounds like too much.  For his sake, I hope the stories aren’t true.

Read Full Post »

Day 96 – Robin C.

My dad leaving Cally's (Photo: Reed)

On Saturday my father and I drove from Richlands, VA to Washington, DC.  It’s about a 7 hour drive.  Along the way we stopped in Harrisonburg, VA.  It has a small picturesque downtown.  On the west side of the main square there is a restaurant called Cally’s.  We stopped in to eat.

I decided to give my $10 to Robin, she was our waitress there.

Robin is 21 and studies Cultural Communications at nearby James Madison University.  As she prepares to leave the security of the university setting in May she ponders where she will go.  I was interested in her perspective on the economy and the job landscape from the eyes of a graduating college senior.

Robin at Cally's (Photo: Reed)

“I am not really worried about landing the perfect job right now.  I hope to move to the beach…maybe Florida…and take a bit of a break for a while and get a job…not necessarily something in my field of study, but just something to pay the bills for a while.”  I asked her if she thought her feelings were representative of the perspective that her classmates had.  “Probably not, some of my friends are really worried.” 

Robin deserves a break after four years of studies while often working two part-time jobs to make ends meet.

Cally's beer sampler (Photo: Reed)

Cally’s as it turns out is a brew pub…so my father and I decided to get a sampler of their beers.  They give you six small tastes which my dad and I split.  Robin said she liked the Downtown Amber.  I really liked the pungent Smokin’ Scottish Ale while my dad preferred the smooth velvety Kolsch.  

The Fredericksburg, VA native said she would use my $10 to put toward her final months of rent.  

After four years at JMU, I asked Robin to reflect a little on her time there.  I asked her what the best part of being a JMU student was.  She shot us a smile and said, “Leaving!”

Good luck on your graduation Robin!

Read Full Post »

Did you vote for who I should invite to lunch/dinner at Clyde’s?  If not go here to vote!

I went and saw Avatar with my dad…really good movie. I don’t know why I didn’t think I was going to like it.  Not the old 3-D that I remembered.

I headed home around 11pm and on my way home I caught the shuttle bus from Rosslyn over to Georgetown.  While I was waiting for the shuttle a young guy walked up with a huge bag and asked if the bus was still running.  I thought it was…well, I was waiting for it so I really hoped it was.  Sure enough, a few minutes later it pulled up.

The bus did come and we got on.  We were both stuck on the bus for a while so I decided to give Tim my $10. 

Tim aboard the Metro Shuttle (Photo: Reed)

We had a few things in common…we both grew up in Central Pennsylvania (about 25 minutes from each other), we both studied in Spain, we both spoke Spanish, we both studied political science…although I ended up changing my major.  Tim is studying International Political Economics.

Tim says that when he is not reading or traveling, he is playing on Georgetown’s Ultimate Frisbee team.  I have to be honest…I have never played…and probably would be no good at it.  I don’t ever recall being very good at Frisbee.

Tim said that he was going to use the money to buy something for his friends…maybe food or drinks…but definitely something for someone else he said.  Hopefully he will drop a note and let us know what the fate of my $10 bill was.

By the way, if you want to help a nice guy out…Tim needs something to do for the summer.  A summer job or internship.  “It would be nice to learn something new” he says.  I have his contact info if you have any ideas for him…just post them here.

Read Full Post »

So today is my birthday!  I am 36 today.  No big plans…since opening night of my play is tonight.

Yesterday was another busy day filled with last minute errands for the play, resolving unemployment issues, job searching and interviewing, updating the Year of Giving, etc. 

I found myself again close to midnight and still holding on to my $10.

I dropped off a friend from the theatre and then decided to head over to the area around 14th and U Street and find someone.  I had NPR on my radio hoping to hear some more of a report that I heard earlier in the day by Laura Sullivan  on our prison systems.  I really like her journalistic style.  When you hear one of her reports you feel like you are there with her.  Maybe I can get her to check out my blog and give me some tips on writing :)

It was raining and I thought I would find a place indoors to give away the $10.  I found myself in front of Bus Boys and Poets, a hip urban joint that I have frequented a few times.  It was open and there was a parking space out front. 

The place is pretty cool.  It is part book store, part coffee-house, part restaurant, part bar, part… meeting place.  I think the poet for which it is named, Langston Hughes, would be proud of the place.  My eyes scanned the bar and saw two young women working on a computer together, a female bartender wiping down the liquor bottles, and a guy who looked like he could line up against the Steelers’ James Harrison and hold his own.  Hmm…I could easily go chat with the girls, but I am more intrigued by the linebacker-like individual.  I mean what’s the worse that could happen?  He could crush me with his forearm?

Allen turns out to be a soft-spoken guy.  He does love his football though.  He stammers a little as he tells me that he is a Redskins fan.  There is that look that a sports fan gives you when they open up and tell you that they love a losing team.  You have to respect that.  That doesn’t happen much in other areas.  I mean you never find someone saying, “I love that mutual fund that is losing me lots of money” or “Even though Dr. Wilson has killed many of his patients, I still love’em!”  Sports is different.  A fan is a fan is a fan, it doesn’t matter what their record is, they are still going to show up and cheer them on.

The 22-year-old from Montgomery County, MD was in DC to film a band.  You can see some of his video work on YouTube searching for abseven4.  I asked him what he was going to do with the money and he said he was going to put it toward gasoline.  Allen will be using quite a bit of gas as he plans to go back to college.  He has about two years left to finish a Sports Management degree at Bowie State University.

Allen dropped out of school a couple years ago but after struggling for a couple years he realized he really wanted to go back to school and get his degree.  He may be starting as soon as Monday, but that depends largely on the financial aid he hopes to receive.  If he doesn’t have everything he needs, then he will have to wait until the fall semester most likely.  I hope he finishes his degree.  It will be an amazing gift for him.

I chat a little more with Allen and realize that I need to get home and get to bed.  When I walked in the door, I discovered my place was cleaned up and there was birthday gift from Daniela waiting on the counter.  Thank you!  That was so nice.

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 322 other followers