On Saturday, May 31st members of the Triangle sports media will gather together to play in a Ryder Cup-style tournament to raise money for Communities in Schools of Wake and Durham counties. The 2014 Triangle Media Ryder Cup sponsored by Indoor Greens Mini Golf & Cafe will be played at Knight’s Play in Apex and donations can be made at trianglemediarydercup.com.

My Mom and Dad spent 30 years each serving as educators in the Cumberland County school system of North Carolina. They have long since passed, but I am still inspired by their work to provide a meaningful education and shape youths’ lives in a positive manner. I have volunteered to help organize the 2014 Triangle Media Ryder Cup because I am passionate about education and more specifically, because of an experience from my childhood.

When I was a boy, I remember going to our local grocery store one night with my Dad. There was a clerk bagging our groceries with a big smile and a engaging personality. Apparently he knew Dad because they carried on a conversation while he skillfully bagged groceries. They exchanged pleasant farewells and we went out to our car.¬† As Dad turned the keys to the ignition, he looked to the rear view mirror and sighed. The facial expression my Dad wore was a far cry from what he had worn when talking to the clerk. I asked Dad what was wrong. “Nothing,” he replied softly. He backed out of the parking lot and we made our way home.

The next morning on the way to school I described the incident to my Mom, curious to see if she had any insight. She told me the clerk’s name was Robert and he was a former student, and a favorite, of Dad’s. I asked when he graduated and she replied that he had not. He was a dropout. I then asked why my Dad seemed upset as we left the parking lot. “Because we failed,” she replied, her facial expressions mirroring my Dad’s the previous night.

I never asked my Mom to whom she was referring when she said “we.” Was it my Mom and Dad as teachers? The school system? The state? It took me a while to realize that “we” was all of us. Our community. We all should be held accountable when a youth drops out of school. One youth dropping out of school can have immeasurable social and economic impacts to a community.

I read the paper every day and I feel powerless against the buffoonery of our bureaucracy. School boards quibbling over bonds. Teachers’ salaries the lowest in the nation. Tenure becoming a controversial topic. Meanwhile 11,049 students of NC 9-12 grade students dropped out of school during the 2012-2013 academic year. That should be the headline every day… that headline along with what are we doing as a community to take action.

Members of the Triangle sports media have gathered together to take action and partner with Communities in Schools of Wake and Durham counties. Their combined effort, along side local businesses Indoor Greens Golf & Mini Cafe and Knight’s Play, will make a difference in many youths’ lives. In addition to raising money for Communities in Schools, their goal is to inspire their communities to action. They have done this already within the Triangle’s burgeoning startup community. Durham startup ShiftZen has pledged a dollar for every mention they receive via their¬†social media to the Triangle Media Ryder Cup.

Join me in taking action and helping keeping our youth in school. Visit trianglemediarydercup.com and make a donation as little as $10. Together as communities we can prevent youth from dropping out of school. Take responsibility, take action, and create results.

Thank you for your consideration,

Richard Averitte

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