by Tom Hastings
A few weeks ago, I visited a local elementary school and spent time reading to a second-grade class. The book I read to them was entitled “I Know I Can,” published by the Columbus organization by the same name, I Know I Can (IKIC). Reading to elementary kids is the one IKIC initiative targeting younger students; business leaders from around Columbus visit elementary schools to read the I Know I Can book and plant the seed in young minds that they can be whatever they want to be, but they have to work at it to succeed. It is an important program, because it gives young students the opportunity to see people in a variety of different jobs, which inspires them to think of what they could do with their own futures. I’m proud that thinkCSC is one of the supporting businesses working with the organization.
I Know I Can is on a mission to inspire, enable and support Columbus students to complete a college education. IKIC works primarily with middle school and high school students. As students enter college, I Know I Can continues to work with them, trying to ensure that they will not only achieve success in the first year of college but that they will see it through until graduation. IKIC works diligently with the students to help them build social and academic capital and an ongoing system of support that will make them more successful.
This year is I Know I Can’s 25th anniversary. It is the longest-serving Columbus-based student support organization. Over the past 25 years, IKIC has given Columbus students more than $24 million in grants. In the last eight years, they’ve achieved a 20-percent increase in first-year retention. I Know I Can believes that by supporting the family, they can support college dreams. For the last several years, I Know I Can has granted a Founders Scholarship. This scholarship, up to $10,000 per year for four years. Curretly, IKIC has 40 Founders’ Scholars, all are enrolled full-time.
Members of the business community provide the model for young students to feed their dreams, and with more than 50,000 students being served by the small staff of I Know I Can, business leaders can volunteer to help in a number of capacities, including providing financial support.
The reason thinkCSC supports I Know I Can is simple: it’s the right thing – and the smart thing – to do. Columbus is stronger when its students are well educated. Businesses need a strong pool of talent from which to build and grow, and I Know I Can is helping to ensure the future of Columbus with their efforts, keeping our community globally competitive.