The Birth of the Rainey Day Foundation
They say that in order to find your purpose, you must first find your passion. That is easier said than done. Many people go through life never finding that one thing that they will do for free. I’m not the expert on how to find it, so you will not find the answer here. What I can tell you is that it is very hard to ignore the need of the young adults from my home town. They have questions; they are looking for guidance and assistance. We, alumni, have been down that road. Some of us have crashed and burned on that same road. Some of us traveled down that road like bosses! We need to share the blueprint and provide the support and guidance that many of them are looking for. It’s time to come out of the shadows of head shaking and talking. Time to stop ignoring the feeling of wanting to help, but not knowing how or where to start. Time to take action and not only help students, but provide a way for fellow alumni to give back as well. It is with that heartfelt determination that the Rainey Day Foundation was created
“Be the person you needed when you were younger”
I saw that quote posted on social media several years ago and it really resonated with me. I immediately thought about my brief time at Morgan State University and the reason I did not finish. So many questions came to mind: Would I have finished school if I had someone encouraging me? Where would I be today if I had the right educational guidance? Did I approach education with the wrong attitude? So many questions filled my head. One thing I did know for certain is that I wanted to be that person for someone. A few years go by and then it happened; my nephew complained to me that he was not being supported. He was a senior in high school, which was a critical time for a young black male in the city. Depending on his influences, he could easily go down the wrong path. I was happy to jump in and support him and I became very passionate about his success.
There’s a feeling that comes with helping that lights a feel good fire under you. Not only do you make a difference in the life of a young adult, but you have a sense of pride for doing your part. If you never received that type of support in your own educational journey, your value comes in showing how to rise above adversity. If you were blessed to have that support system, your value comes in paying it forward. It’s really that simple. We are who we needed when we were younger.
How did we get here…
Everything happens in God’s time. For years I have been in the pursuit of purpose and felt like it had to be related to one of my many talents. I’m going to ignore what I usually do because helping people in their time of need is just the type of heart that I have. So come on God! Send the sign from up above with the big lightning strike and spell it out for a daughter. There was no strike, no messages, no mail, and no straight talk. Bummer. In the meantime, I will continue to be the Philanthropist that I am and continue to focus on the students.
As the drafted event planner for the Camden High School Class of 1986, we focused a lot of events on raising money for scholarships. We were proud to award Daequan Williams, Camden High School Class of 2017, with a scholarship in the amount of $1,986.00. It felt great to award a student for their hard work. I wanted to do more of that, but something felt off. As time went on and news broke of the school being torn down, my heart was breaking for the students and I felt empathy for my fellow alumni. The students would need our support more than ever during this transition and beyond. I’m just not sure how.
During the planning of my 50th birthday extravaganza, I was asked the million dollar question; what can I get you for your birthday? (Cue dramatic music) Here comes the lightning strike! I don’t need a thing but I’m sure some students can use some help with tuition! I was thrilled and excited to accept cash towards a scholarship. What to name it was pretty easy. It’s my nature to be there in the time of need and their rainy days, but I wanted to do more. That same feeling I had with Daequan Williams hit me again. It’s great to award a scholarship, but what happens next? What if they need more? What if they have questions? Who will follow up with them after the scholarship? Who will talk through the challenges of college with them? The Alumni Mentors with the Rainey Day Foundation will.