Regardless of where we’re from, we all seek a sense of belonging. We all want to thrive, we all want to find our element, our place, our passion.
In our work on the KIPP Forward team, we try to help our alumni on that path toward discovery.
We try to help them find their sense of belonging, and as they search—either on a college campus or in a career—we help them navigate the labyrinth of obstacles that may trip them up.
Even the little things can send a student packing for home—a library late fee can turn into a roadblock.
Recently we have been trying to normalize fear, normalize failure. We’re here to say, “No, you’re not the only one who didn’t understand what the professor was saying in class today,” or “No, you are not the only one who didn’t understand right away how to put money on your ID card. You are not the only one. You are not alone.”
And when our students and alumni get through the obstacles—when we see a student find themselves—their passion, their purpose—when we watch as they fulfill their part of the promise and pay their education forward—somehow it’s like watching your own children grow up.
I’ve been at KIPP for more than a decade, and what keeps me coming back is the bigger picture. We have the opportunity to be a tipping point in so many different ways. Other organizations do great work, but we have the energy, the urgency, the breadth.
Four years ago, we had just about 3,000 alumni in college. This year it’s over 10,000. Pretty soon, we will have 40,000 alumni and tens of thousands enrolled each year.
We are…we are on the crest of a huge and influential wave.