The Gift of Hope

A note from our CEO, Eshauna Smith, looking back on 2019:

Dear Friends,

Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to hear from several alumni about what they gained from their Urban Alliance internship. Alongside the expected answers of a job, professional skills, and valuable connections, I also heard an answer that made me so proud to be part of this Urban Alliance community: hope.

Transitioning from high school to the real world, students should feel a sense of limitless possibility and unrestricted hope. But for too many of our young people, that is not the case. Doors to future pathways seem closed before students even have the chance to knock. That’s why, of all the things we provide at Urban Alliance, that sense of hope matters the most. For our students, hope is the belief that they can do it – that they can do anything.

Journalist Ron Suskind wrote in his moving exploration of a young man’s journey from Ballou High School in Washington, DC to Brown University: “He had hope in a better world he could not yet see that overwhelmed the cries of “you can’t” or “you won’t” or “why bother.” More than anything else, mastering that faith, on cue, is what separated him from his peers … It has made all the difference.”

What an incredible gift.

During this season of giving, you’ll hear words of gratitude over and over again. But I can’t resist adding my voice to the chorus: thank you. By supporting Urban Alliance’s mission to increase economic opportunity for the youth who need it most, you are giving them something so much greater. You’re giving them a light that will keep shining no matter what life may bring.

As we look toward a new year and a new decade, I am filled with hope for the young people we’ve had the privilege to serve.

Happy Holidays, Happy New Year – and thank you.

With gratitude and hope,
Eshauna Smith