Marc Bland: Give Back To Students and They'll Never Forget It - Guest Blog

January 29, 2013

To all Detroit Public Schools alumni who are considering giving back through the Foundation, I want you to know that if I can do it, you can too.

I graduated from Cody High in 1986, going on to get a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University, which I attended on a football scholarship, and later a master’s from Central Michigan University. My career in business includes nine years at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Michigan and today at Polk, where I head the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

In recent years, I’ve taken a macro-level approach to helping DPS and its students. I have lent my business experience in meeting with Roy Roberts and DPS executive leadership to develop programs that I think have helped them improve and implement new processes.

I have also been blessed to help the Foundation consider new ideas on how to support schools, including Cody.

As a volunteer, I am committed to helping students learn how to make a good first impression, with their handshake, dress and verbal skills.  For example, I teach that all young men should wear a belt, unless they are in a gym, to hold their pants up around their waist. A tie should be tied up around your neck, not worn as a necklace. All students should dress neatly, with clean clothes. Taking care of yourself shows that you have the potential to take care of someone’s business. Many of the students I talk to about this are juniors and seniors at DPS.

If I can do this, in my limited time, then you can to. What I tell my fellow alumni is instead of standing on the sidelines, throwing boulders at the administration, contribute a pebble of support. Those pebbles will gather and combine to build a better DPS.

Ask yourself what are my strengths? What do I have to offer? What time do I have? How can I use my skills to help students where I grew up? What can I ask my company to do? How can I impact the change I want to see?

Even if you just show up and talk to some students, you can make a difference. More than 25 years later, my high school teammates and I will never forget when Donald Anderson, a former NFL player, from our school came to visit us.  You don’t have to be a football player to make an impression on kids. Just tell them how you accomplished your dreams and they will remember it.

 

ERICA SANDERS, DPS FOUNDATION ALUMNI DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST INTERVIEWED ON 90.9 FMDPS FOUNDATION MOTIVATES FOR THE FUTURE

ROUSH EMPLOYEES: You can help the Central-Durfee K-12 Campus of Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) Students get a STEM/ROBOTICS LAB!

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