Carol and I both agree that the ten years that we spent running the McKelvey and Lenfest Foundations for rural kids were our most satisfying of our careers. The funny thing is that it has not ended yet. When you have over one thousand young people out there who are in their twenties and early thirties, you always have some stories to tell.
Many of these young people are still in contact with us through Facebook, email, phone calls and visits. Sometimes we get a call from one of them saying that they are on their way someplace, could we please go out to lunch. We may even get an invitation to see them in a far off place in which they are now working. In February we will meet with one of our scholars in Puerto Rico. It is a joy to see each and every one of them.
Some of the young men and women have gotten to be pretty close to us. When we needed some age cohort people to accompany us to New York and Washington during the Christmas vacation to spend time with some young visitors from Mexico, we had no trouble finding volunteers. They were delightful and made the visits memorable. They are all still in contact with the Mexican visitors.
Somehow, there are those who keep in contact on a regular basis. Two of these are Kyle and Hollywood. The reason for the Hollywood sobriquet is that his name is also Kyle. When they were both mentors at a camp we ran for new scholars, the Hollywood name stuck to the other Kyle.
These guys were wonderful mentors for the new scholars first going to college. Each of them has a way of making things sound interesting. They are both easy going with a penchant for telling stories. Their approach to the new scholars was open and accessible. They would stay up late at night to answer questions and just hang around with their mentees.
Now they have been out of college for a number of years. Hollywood went back home at first and worked for his parents in their grocery store. He did apply for some teaching jobs, but was not successful. I can tell everyone that because schools in PA had to furlough 20,000 people, getting a job is a minor miracle. Hollywood landed a job with the Pepsi Cola Company in St. Marys, PA. He is well on his way to being successful. He told me that he would like to be close to home, but if Pepsi decided that he should go to Colorado, he would go.
Hollywood has a lovely family. His older sister was also a McKelvey Scholar. Carol and I got to know the family somewhat and have seen Hollywood develop from a 17 year old high school senior to a wonderful and accomplished 25 year old.
Kyle is a horse of a different color. In a test that we gave the McKelvey Scholars to determine their strengths (not weaknesses), he scored out of sight on human interaction. His talents in that area allowed him to get a job in the alumni and development offices in his college. To say that he is likable would be an understatement.
He was determined to work in the area of development at the college level. He applied to get a Master’s degree in that field at Elmira College in N.Y. He is almost finished with his degree and is now has a full time job at the college. He is in charge of large gift giving for the alumni. He could not have gotten a better job to fit his skills.
Kyle and Hollywood are just a few of the young people we have been close to. We have number of young women who finished their degrees and decided to marry and stay home with their children. Some are even home schooling their young ones. Others are going on with their master’s degree while being a full time mom. We are so proud of them.
We even have a few who married and then entered the military. They are doing well and are able to take care of their children at the same time. I am not sure how that works, but they are doing it.
We have a raft of entrepreneurial scholars that we were never really involved with. Although, we helped to choose the original ten, there are over 200 others. However, we are in contact through Facebook and have established relationships with some of them. A few months ago, we Skyped with a scholar who is in China, having started a school for Chinese students who want to study in America.
If you have any doubts about twenty to thirty year olds, I hope that you will be happy to see that so many of them are successful in so many areas.