Robert J. is a graduate of Boys’ Latin Charter High School, a Junior Servant Leader, and a Fannie Lou Hamer Trainer with Philadelphia Freedom Schools, a math and literacy program of Communities In Schools of Philadelphia. He is a testament to the impact Communities In Schools of Philadelphia has on students and the community.
Robert was born into an environment where drugs were prevalent. Early on his mother made a conscious decision to move out of that environment and refocus her energy on the wellness of her growing family. While Robert knows his father, he has not had any interaction with him since he was a young child. “I missed those opportunities for me to learn and grow from my father, because other things were more important to him than me. He is not here to be a benefit to me,” he shares.
Through our program, Robert was supported and mentored by a strong team of staff, volunteers, and program alumni. In particular, Robert recalls his relationship with program volunteer Jadeyah Kromah. “Everybody in Freedom Schools is big on making sure you’re educated, but Sister Jadeyah was tough and she also challenged me to explore college at a historically black college or university.”
Through the help of PFS, Robert excelled in school and graduated from high school with a 3.75 GPA with advanced placement and honors. He was accepted to seven colleges, including a full-tuition scholarship to Medaille College in Upstate New York and full-tuition scholarship provided by Say Yes to Education. He is now a freshman at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA studying social work.
Robert shared that having one-on-one access to caring mentors changed his life and helped him grow. “This will help me be a leader for kids in our communities like Philadelphia Freedom Schools and Say Yes to Education, which helped me succeed and become more confident,” he explained.
A bright young man, Robert found the hard times pushed him to be better. “I believe in being kind to others and no matter what I am going through, I think it is important to be a benefit to my brothers and sisters. You never know who you could be helping. That’s the Freedom School way.”
Dennis Dumpson, a Philadelphia Freedom Schools mentor, says that the transformation in Robert is visible and amazing. “Over the years, I have seen him develop into a young man with a strong sense of self-worth, and a positive attitude about life.”
Robert shows how a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult can propel students to the highest heights. When asked what he predicted for Robert’s future, Dennis said, “Since meeting him I have admired Robert’s zest for education and growth. His unbridled passion for life will open doors to a vibrant, successful future.”