A Statement From Our Founder, Tony DiBenedetto, on Taking Action Towards Equality
Let’s talk openly about a critical turning point unfolding right before our eyes, in our time in history. The problems we are facing are systemic and complex, and we know there are many reforms needed to ensure that real equality exists in the future of our nation. Injustice is rooted in many forms, but I believe one of its major causes is the economic inequality that exists due to a lack of quality education and access to opportunities.
Many of you know I founded an organization named Think Big for Kids over four years ago. We are dedicated to helping underprivileged kids, regardless of race or gender, discover their potential by showing them a pathway to a career and reducing systemic poverty by preparing them to excel in today’s workforce. Our mission has never been more relevant, and we remain standing with the Black Community during this critical time in history to work towards eliminating economic inequality and closing the opportunity gap.
Think Big is deeply personal to me, because I was one of the underprivileged kids we serve. I know what it’s like to grow up surrounded by poverty, drug use and crime. If it weren’t for some great friends, teachers and mentors, I would not have been able to escape a life of hardship and instability. I’m sure my journey was not as difficult as it could have been if I was a person of color.
What we need moving forward are solutions, and Think Big is one of them. We are addressing one of the most pressing issues facing low-income communities today through a three-pronged approach of 1) Career Exploration, 2) Mentoring and 3) Job Readiness and Placement. Our three pillars support awareness and exposure of different careers at the middle school age, provide mentors to serve as a role model and give support, and offer internships and scholarships to eliminate financial barriers to employment. We have an existing program already taking place today, and we stand ready to deploy it to as many kids as possible.
My challenge to you is this. What are you doing for real change? Can you commit to sharing your voice, speaking out against injustices as you see them, educating yourself and others so we can all start to uncover our biases and act in a way that pushes forward real change? I implore you to join me during this crucial time to ask the questions. If you are confused, educate yourself. If you feel uncomfortable, engage anyway.
This is our time to help the youth of our nation for a better tomorrow. It is our actions today that are going to have life-lasting impact on the futures of our youth – and they are depending on us. I know that economic inequality is just one part of the problem, but it is something I know I can do something about. Call or email us at Think Big, call your local Boys & Girls Club, Year-Up or other like-minded organizations that are providing solutions that create real and lasting change.
I am personally inspired and energized to listen more, learn more and ACT now, to bring Think Big programs to more youth in America and foster the hope that we all need for equal opportunities. Thanks for listening.
Founder, Think Big for Kids