I loved this letter from Joan, one of our PS119 teachers, when she learned we would be adopting the school. Her husband asks a great question: “What is in it for them?”
Let me try to answer that. I watched both my parents go to school every day for 40+ years and struggle every single day to help kids reach their potential. I have two powerful memories:
- I distinctly remember my mom coming home in tears talking about adopting a little girl, Zuraida, into our family because she didn’t know how else to save her. She was in a very broken family, and was a constant topic of conversation at home – school and home talk all blended together for my parents, there was no separation.
- I remember my dad working in the after school program for free for 3 consecutive years, and him convincing several other teachers so they could save enough money to build a simple gym for the kids.
We – Next Jump – have a unique chance to impact the lives of children at PS119, inspire them to dream big and open their mind to become anything they want to be. By doing that we can inspire all Next Jump employees to feel the amazing goodness of helping others less fortunate. That’s what’s in it for us. And if we can document this experiment in the right way, and create a blue print, we can turn it into a model that will move others to do the same.
Albert, Senior Management Team at Next Jump
Below is the letter from Joan L. Giardina, Instructional Coach at PS 119.
“Hooray for us all!” I squealed. And I really meant “all.”
Last week I heard the wonderful news that the tech company Next Jump would be adopting our school, PS 119/The Dr. Emmett W. Bassett School in the Bronx. The partnership is aimed at furthering Next Jump’s company philosophy that a “Better Me + Better You = Better Us.” They’re a thriving, happy company with nearly 0% turnover due to the practices they have put into place to support their employees’ physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. Giving to others has always been a large part of this effort, and they have decided to partner with one lucky NYC public school to provide resources and support across that same “PEMS” quadrant. Why should the vision of a “Better Us” end at the company doors? Why not imagine and take steps toward a more universal “us”?
My husband skeptically but quite reasonably asked, however, as he overheard my cries of delight, “What’s in it for them? You know they’re going to expect something in return…”
“Think of the Blooms,” I suggested, reminding him of friends who’d adopted a child some years ago. “Did they adopt Emily with a sense of lofty charity, do you suppose? And do you think they pondered just how they were going to profit from the arrangement – how ever would they get a return on their investment? They did it knowing that there would be absolutely intrinsic and mutual joy, giving, and learning.”
Next Jump has adopted PS 119/The Dr. Emmett W. Bassett School because they know – with the truly awesome leadership of CEO Charlie Kim – that they will be better for helping us be better. And if I do say so myself, they could not have chosen a richer partner with more vital needs. PS 119 will not only provide Next Jump with an excellent model for this kind of corporate sponsorship, and with charitable gratification and intrinsic and mutual rewards. They have chosen to partner with a strong public school in New York’s inner city — with critical needs just as you’d expect — whose very mission is to make a better world. The company doors just flew wide open.
There is a saying in Buddhism that “True charity occurs only when there are no notions of giving, giver, or gift.”
Hooray for us all.
Thank you, Joan, for your wonderful words!
Next Jump Team