The Commercial Appeal occasionally has published Guest Columns on its Viewpoint pages authored by millennials who expressed a desire to be more involved in helping solve some the community’s pressing issues through voluntarism or public service.
One of those pressing issues involves making sure children, especially those attending failing schools in poor neighborhoods, graduate from high school prepared to begin a career or to pursue a postsecondary degree.
Forbes is recognizing two Memphis millennials, Mendell Grinter and Hardy Farrow for their part in that effort, naming them to its 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 in education.
Forbes, which focuses on business and financial news, called the list “the most definitive gathering of today’s leading young change-makers and innovators in the U.S.”
The magazine described 600 people who made the list as individuals “who are challenging the conventional wisdom and rewriting the rules for the next generation of entrepreneurs, entertainers, educators and more. They are passionate and formidable bunch, and for good reason. Their goal is nothing short of breaking the status quo and transforming the world.”
That is high-sounding praise, but it seems appropriate for what Grinter, 25, and Farrow, 26, have accomplished.
Grinter is founder and executive director of Campaign for School Equity, which advocates for issues like school vouchers for low-income students but also teaches students about advocacy work. Before that he was the executive director of the Memphis chapter of the Black Alliance for Education Opportunities.
Farrow, 26, arrived in Memphis four years ago through Teach for America and taught at Power Center Academy for two years.
Farrow told The Commercial Appeal’s Jennifer Pignolet, “I recognized a lot of my students lacked opportunities for scholarships, lacked opportunity to kind of think about where they’re heading in their life.”
He added he was also aware of the need for more minority-owned businesses in the city, particularly ones with more than a single employee. While teaching at Power Center, Farrow created Let’s Innovate through Education, which helps students develop business and entrepreneurship skills. The program now acts as an incubator for students for a full decade, following them through college and providing start-up funds for their businesses when they graduate.
Millennials, generally described as 20-34 year-olds, have been described as eager to find creative solutions to problems, along with making giving back and being civically engaged high priorities.
That description fits Grinter and Farrow.
There are many foundations, education advocacy groups and private individuals working with Shelby County Schools, the business community and local governments in the tough task of turning failing schools into successful schools. Making sure students leave high school ready to begin a career or to begin work on a postsecondary degree or certificate is vital to well-being being of any city, especially those, like Memphis, that are battling high poverty rates.
An adequate education is one of the key ingredients in the recipe to reduce poverty.
The endeavors of all the entities engaged in the education reform effort are important. Still, it bodes well for the well-being of this community when millennials like Grinter and Farrow step up and become involved.
[Source:-The Commercial Appeal]