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Do you have an obligation to help others?

Did you read Marc Fisher’s column in Sunday’s Washington Post, “Helping Those You Can, Because You Can“?

I did, and I have to say, I found it moving. For those of you who didn’t, Fisher writes about two successful businessmen who each sponsored a class of poor schoolchildren in D.C., providing them with emotional and financial support through college.

Here’s a short excerpt:

Twenty years ago, [George] Kettle had stood before sixth-graders at a Southeast Washington school and announced that “I’m the whitey from Virginia” who promised to pay whatever it took to send every child in the room to college.

Many kids at Winston Educational Center that day had little idea what Kettle’s commitment really meant, but two decades later, the students to whom Kettle devoted hundreds of hours and $600,000 are more successful than not. A few ended up on the streets, but most are managers, teachers, police officers.

Is piece uplifting? Definitely. But that’s not what struck me.

Ed Wilczynski (who took up the practice after Kettle) told Fisher that “people who know how to get things done have an obligation to step in when the system isn’t working.”

Do you agree? Do successful businesspeople who can “get things done” need to take control of a floundering educational system?

JACKIE SAUTER, Multimedia Editor