My undergrad Alma Mater is the University of Southern California. One week ago, thanks to my dear friends Tim & Margaret, I was 23 rows from the field at the awesome Ohio State rout. (USC 35, OSU 3). Today, it felt great to return to campus and show my Trojan Pride in a completely different way
The Neighborhood Academic Initiative is a University program designed to help get disadvantaged youth on track towards a college degree. Most of the teens in the program would otherwise not have a chance at a college education. A full-scholarship at USC awaits those who successfully complete the program and pass the application process. I had the pleasure of meeting a "graduate"of the program who is now attaining her Master's degree at USC.
I gave a talk at an intimate auditorium on campus in an effort to sign more donors onto the registry. Jerome Williams was also there to speak and the marrow drive was done in his name. Sadly, Jerome has not found a match yet and a number of the African-Americans in the audience voiced their desire to be his donor.
A majority of the attendees were Latino, which was wonderful because it is not often that I get a chance to reach out to the Hispanic community. There were many parents present who did not speak English, so my words had to be translated by an interpreter. There was still hope for Jerome, as he has some Latino blood in him.
A great discussion ensued after the talk and we dispelled many of the myths of donating marrow while talking about love, community and the miracle of saving a life . In the end, we signed up over 60 new donors. I just know that there will be matches for other patients to be found in that special group. :)
Thanks to Vivian, Maria, Monica and Michelle for a successful drive!