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Paying it Forward: Access Granted

Paying it Forward: Access Granted

Ripple Effect

You don’t know what you don’t know. As I stood in front of a classroom of high school juniors explaining ACT testing strategies, I realized they really didn’t know. Not because they didn’t want to know how to perform well on the ACT, but because they didn’t have access to the tools to succeed. I was only a year older than them and knew I didn’t want to withhold any information that could perpetuate a state of lack.

I had recently graduated from a middle to upper-middle class, predominantly white high school where we were showered with resources including a semester-long ACT prep class. Additionally, the school brought in a consultant to host an ACT test strategies workshop for a day. But the students I spoke to that day, who looked more like me than my own high school peers, were 23 minutes southeast of my alma mater with none of the aforementioned resources.

Presentation for MGP

Since joining DISHER, my knowledge of what it takes to get hired and be successful has grown. It excites me to take all of the information I have gained and pay it forward to others who have not been given equivalent access to the professional world. The drive to give back tangibly is what has forged a bond between myself and the Midnight Golf Program in Detroit, Michigan. MGP, as it is colloquially called, was born out of the same desire to give access to underserved Detroit youth preparing for college and the professional sphere. MGP serves 500 juniors and seniors in high school every year. Through multi-layered mentorships, golf lessons, and career and life skills training, MGP has ballooned the college graduation rate of their African American students to 60% transcending the national average of 40% for the same demographic. MGP’s passion and desire to grant deeper access to those who need it most has earned them the title: Crain’s Best Managed Non-Profit 2018. But their dedicated team does not do it for honors; they do it because they simply care.

MGP students and alumni are the future employees and employers of this country and the world. They deserve and want the opportunity to improve themselves and their personal situations. Just as the students I spoke with in 2003 wanted—dare I say hungered for, they want the opportunity to rise. MGP participants and graduates are bright, caring, determined and humble. They display qualities a good manager wants, companies need, and future leaders require.

MGP 2019 Class

800 high school seniors interviewed for 264 spots in MGP’s 2019 class.

Now the scene has shifted fifteen years to the present. I am standing in front of thirty MGP alums discussing the realities of resumes and the intricacies of interviews. Hands go up. Great questions are asked. The soon-to-be-degreed students help answer each other’s questions. Their eyes light up as the wheels of cognition turn in their minds. There is palpable trust in the room. They believe in the validity of the material before them and I am confident they will use this information as best they can. I trust that they will in turn will pass along this information and the sometimes-elusive key to success:  access.

To learn more about building a culture of meaning, purpose, and engagement— contact DISHER. Our mission is to Make a Positive Difference in our world, and we would love to help accomplish this with you and your team.

Written By: Jacquelyn Pogue, Talent Engineer

Jacquelyn has a BS in Integrated Leadership Studies/ Enterprise Leadership from Central Michigan University. She is originally from Alabama’s gulf coast region and enjoys indulging in southern cuisine regularly (any cuisine really). She enjoys watching sports and getting on the tennis court as often as possible.