Children want to know how a good education can help them get ahead
Education is the key to your future.
As true as that statement is, kids won't totally buy the idea of going to school because it's the right thing to do or because someone says so. They want to know how can getting a good education lead to something beneficial and profitable.
So when Shannon King, Chris Layne and I formed TEAM KRL in 2010, we created the B4 (Be Strong, Be Positive, Be Ready, Believe) youth program for one simple reason:
We wanted to help kids from our hometown of Huntington and Tri-State area make it and show how a good education will increase their chances of doing that.
This year, we're having the two-day summer program from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 7-8 at Marshall University's Memorial Student Center. Through featured speakers, workshops and activities, the program explains the benefits of having an education and teaches life skills.
It's for sixth- through 11th-graders. During the school year, we monitor grades, award those who make the honor roll and offer support and help to those who aren't doing as well.
Our ultimate goal is to award scholarships.
See, Shannon, Chris and I take education seriously and as a result, we have become professionals in our chosen career field.
Chris is a senior commercial lending officer for EVB, Shannon is a risk management representative for Utica National Insurance and I am a sports columnist for the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser. Chris and Shannon both work in Richmond, Va..
On the flip side, you must show kids the negative side of not taking school seriously.
Instead of just saying going to school can lead to a good job, explain what could happen if they drop out.
There's a good chance you'll resort to a life of crime, which can lead to you getting killed or landing behind bars where you'll lose your freedom.
We all like doing what we want, but when you show a kid where they might end up without a good education, they'll rethink the idea of living foolish and foul.
At last year's B4 program, Chris talked about the importance of graduating from high school, going to college and used the almighty dollar to validate his point.
He made reference to a study that stated, on average, a high school graduate in West Virginia earns $6,134 more each year than a high school dropout and that the average starting salary for a 2012 college graduate was $44,442.
See, a kid can't duck or dodge those figures.
Finish school. Earn more. Go to college. Earn even more.
So when talking to kids about the importance of education, explain why it's important because as Nelson Mandela once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
A Marshall graduate, Duane Rankin has been a professional sports journalist since 1994. For more information about the B4 program, visit www.teamkrl2010.com where students can fill out an application. Deadline to apply is May 31. Donations can be sent to Chris Layne, the following address: Chris Layne, P.O. Box 4127, Midlothian, VA 23112.