December 26, 2006

WrightFlight - Giving Kids Wings



In the Man-Making book, one of the forms of involvement I discuss is called One-to-Many, one adult to many kids. It's where a man takes his hobby or interest and shares it with the world in a way that involves kids. There are many examples of how this simple act can evolve into something that can change kids lives in a multitude of ways. Sports, learning to drive safely in high performance cars, even building wooden boats from scratch are all examples I talk about in the Man-Making book.

WrightFlight is another of those stories. It was founded in 1986 in Tucson, Arizona by Robin Stoddard, an Air Force Reserve fighter pilot. He was aware of the excitement flight held for most kids and decided to use that as motivation to improve kid's lives. The way it works is each student to signs a contract at the beginning of the program. This contract requires the students to raise a grade point in one of their weaker subjects (i.e. raising a math grade from C to B), in addition to staying in school, off drugs, and out of gangs. If the student passes the Wright Flight "History of Flight" test, the student earns a graduation thrill of a hands-on flight in a small aircraft as a co-pilot.

With over 750 successful students graduating in the Tucson area during this school year, approximately 10,500 graduates since its inception, and new chapters springing up across the country, WrightFlight is powerful testimony to what one motivated man (and a lot of help from friends and ally's) can create. Check out their website for the whole story.

What hobby, skill, or powerful interest do you have that you might share with the young people in the community around you? That's just how it all gets started.

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