Sweet Hugs, Southern Accents and Schools

School...Some kids love school, some kids hate school and some kids never get the opportunity to go to school.

Here in Birmingham, education was a huge theme. Many of the moments people shared were in some way, shape or form connected to improving education in Birmingham and the state of Alabama.

It really made me take a step back. I’ve always been nerdy. I love reading, writing, learning, sitting in the front row and asking too many questions. I’m not exactly sure where this love for learning comes from (probably my parents), but it has definitely carried me through a lot of life. I loved high school, absolutely adored college and lately grad school has been a possibility I’ve tossed around…

And then a moment hit me. There are adults in this country that can’t read. There are children that will never have the opportunity to get an education. There are entire families, who for them, school has never been an option.

I don’t think I was ever more grateful for my education and equally as impressed with the people of Birmingham as they fight to educate every individual in their city.

I met Nicole, a 25-year-old entrepreneur, who started a business ensuring that more high school students have interactions with college counselors. Through this program, 100% of students involved go on to attend college. WOW.

Mary Page helps provide education to low income women. Her organization not only supports women through education and economic opportunities, but also sees the need for building relationships and establishing social networks to help these women find jobs.

Rena was one of the most impressive. She didn’t learn to read until she was an adult and reached out to a tutoring program for help. She admitted it was embarrassing and difficult to be a grown woman with a very low reading level. She is now involved and teaching other adults how to read.

She said, “Someone helped me learn to read and I want to help others so they can gain the confidence I did. You are never too old to learn, improve and ask for help. Now that I can read, I feel that I can do anything.”

Birmingham is a place where people see a need and take action. It is a city filled with warmth, kindness, sweet hugs, southern accents and sheer goodness. I’m pretty sure it’s that goodness that got it nicknamed, “The Magic City.”

Thanks for sharing a little magic with me, Birmingham.

Your fight for education is inspiring.


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