Guest blogger Jim McDaniel, Allied Insurance

Jim McDaniel

On Feb. 11, Jim McDaniel, Commercial Underwriting Director with Allied Insurance and Donna Mobley, Community Impact Manager with United Way, sat down with youth at Koinonia facility in Loomis. They discussed how money and time could be spent improving graduation rates in our region.

Jim talks about his experience:

I had the pleasure of speaking with a classroom full youth last week at the Koinonia facility in Loomis, CA. I partnered with Donna Mobley, Community Impact Manager, in an effort to understand what types of programs in the community are really helping students graduate. We asked several questions and there was tremendous dialogue around the theme of graduation rates and hurdles facing students today. Ultimately, we summed up our time by asking “If you could spend time and money on one program or in one place to help kids graduate, where would you spend it?”

It became very evident that there is a profound need for mentorship and guidance at a one-on-one level. Furthermore, numerous after-school programs were identified as key to the success of the students in the room. The success stories mainly revolved around examples of someone taking the time to motivate and influence kids, saving them from the negative influences of the street.

Donna and I ended up with five, completely filled out, flip chart pages of feedback from the students. We look forward to gathering additional thoughts from other students on our way to improving graduation rates in the region. We look forward to returning to visit with our friends at the Koinonia facility when we start putting some of their suggestions into play. We plan on having a pizza party to celebrate the positive outcomes that will surely come from spending time with those whom use and benefit from the services we are looking to enhance and support.

Donna shares what she learned:

The two things that really stood out to me when we asked about how schools could change, they mostly said, “let us get up and walk around in class.” The students want to be able to move around the room and learn by doing things, not just reading a book or looking at the board. When students were asked what they would do with $1,000 to help other students graduate, they said they would help their brothers and sister do better in school. We look forward to many more valuable discussions with students in our region.


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