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Question: “Did you ever defend a murderer?” Answer: “Well, people accused of murder, yes.” Response: “COOL!” Oh my…

It was June 8th, and I was standing before a group of eager high school students at Providence’s E-Cubed Academy. I, along with several other local professionals, had been asked to spend the day with the kids for their yearly Career Fair. While the TV-induced appeal of my prior life in legal practice received a lot of enthusiastic inquiries, the kids were collectively impressed by the somewhat unconventional route I took into the real estate industry. By the end of the day I was exhausted by the battery of questioning, but thrilled at the pile of kids’ emails and phone numbers I had stuffed in my briefcase. Nearly every student who spoke up in our sessions was thirsty for opportunities in the professional world. Anyone that I could pass their names and contact information along to in the hopes of earning an internship, or even a conversation, would be embraced wholeheartedly. 

As I left the school, the PUBLIC school, I couldn’t deny the surprising impression the day had left me with. The school, the staff, and the students clearly evidenced an environment where a love of learning was both welcomed and nurtured. How can the city’s educational system suffer so much, when there is clearly a desire to both teach and learn right here?

I don’t have the answer. But what I can tell you is that right here in our city is hundreds of kids waiting for a door to open for them. A smile, a word of encouragement, a conversation, anything. I am not the idealist type anymore; I know that these things do not solve the bigger problems. But if we each took a few moments of our day to reach out to just one child, one student, perhaps we would start to get somewhere. Every member of this community, kids grown, kids young, no kids, still a kid, regardless, should accept this responsibly in some way. It takes a village….

 By: Rita Danielle Steele

The mission of E-Cubed Academy is to create a vibrant student-centered community that will eliminate all barriers in learning, thus capitalizing upon the academic, social, and civic potentials of all learners.

To learn more about how you can get involved with E-Cubed Academy , or to learn about other opportunities, contact Carmen Jimenez-Robbins, College Guide at the  National College Advising Corps at Brown University via email at carmen_jimenez-robbins@brown.edu.

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