While I was working on a project for the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, I was very impressed with the work that the Foundation is doing to prepare children in underserved, economically disadvantaged communities for college. Leveling the playing field academically is a huge step in preparing the inner city youth of our nation to enter the workforce armed to compete.
But what kept nagging at me was the realization that it takes a whole lot more than good grades and a college degree to be successful in life. If these kids do not have the life skills to go hand-in-hand with their subject matter mastery, have we really prepared them to be truly successful in life? If they find some level of success, will they be able to sustain it?
After 20 years in the corporate world, with both a Bachelors and an MBA, I can tell you that my life skills have played just as significant a role in my success in life as my degrees and formal education. Planning what I wanted out of life and setting the necessary goals, developing interpersonal skills such as understanding how to engage and work with others, public speaking and knowing how to present myself with confidence, learning about nutrition and fitness, and knowing how to manage my personal finances – these are among the things that have helped me live a healthy, well-balanced, successful life.
I founded The Village Enrichment Program so that we, as a village, can help bridge the gap and fill the needs of providing life skills education for our youth so they can really soar. Educate to Empower to Excel. When many do a little, a lot gets done. We all have a role to play.