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Leadership Long Beach

Making A Difference: One School At A Time

By Julie Larkins, CEO
CDF Financial Services, LLC
LLB 2012

Julie LarkinsSeptember 10th, 2013 – My fellow citizens: ask not what your city can do for you . . . ask what can you do for your city – paraphrasing John F. Kennedy. While very simple, it is critical to our future. Leadership Long Beach reminds us we are the key to the success of our community. After going through the program, I became keenly aware of how to create change and the resources to make it happen.

During the Institute program, we have an opportunity to participate in “Principal for a Day” at a local school. It was surprising to see how understaffed and underfunded schools are. Teachers often have to fund their own supplies. Determined to make a difference, my company, CDR Financial Services, became involved in an 8th grade mentoring program for The Colin Powell School for Success. It started by arranging a field trip for The Male Academy to our office. Each student filled out an application, interviewed with a manager and then were mock “hired” based on their interviews. It provided a peek into the real world for the students. We challenged the students to achieve a 3.5 GPA by graduation and provided weekly mentoring. If they earned a 3.5 GPA we would reward them with a laptop, printer and accessories.

The program resulted in some students improving their grades from a .5 GPA to a 2.0 GPA in a matter of a few weeks. Because of significant improvement in grades, we worked with the school to start The Female Academy. This year 20 students earned laptops at their graduation. While some might argue they achieved the 3.5 GPA because they wanted the laptop, I say they achieved a 3.5 GPA!

Recently I was asked why my husband and I do this. The answer is rather simple: “These children are our future.” They will be making decisions that will impact us, positive or negative. So my fellow citizens: ask not what your city can do for you . . . ask what can you do for your city. YOU can make a difference. If you would like to find out more about LLB or join our efforts in making a difference for these students, please contact me directly at 562/983-8686 or julie.larkins@cdrfinancial.com.

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(Founded in 1989, Leadership Long Beach offers principled leadership programs by educating and engaging adult and youth leaders on issues important to the city’s future and sustainability.

For more information, check us out at www.leadershiplb.org or www.facebook.com/leadershiplongbeach.)