has made her study even more,”
says Sophia Young, 32, about her 9-
year-old daughter Emiyah Johnson.
Her son, Travis Dumas, 12, wants
to be a scientist.
“I tell them life isn’t easy but
you only have to worry about your
schoolwork,” says Young, who
checks her children’s homework
daily and assigns them homework if
the teacher did not. “My kids want
to go to big universities, so I tell
them it starts now.”
And Manuel’s efforts at
112th Street have done more
than make the school safer.
“Parents are talking to
teachers now, we know each
other’s kids now and parents
are learning [English] with
their kids,” says Martha Perez,
34, who stands at the gate of
112th Street Elementary
every morning to welcome Spanish-speaking parents in Spanish.
Educational leaders such
as Manuel are getting help from
“To attract people to our profession. we thought it would be great
to teach ethics in the classroom,”
says Tony Buzzelli, national managing partner of U.S. regions for
Deloitte & Touche, one of the
2006 DiversityInc 25 Noteworthy
Deloitte & Touche partnered
with Junior Achievement, a nationally renowned program that utilizes
executive/student interaction in the
classroom to teach children about
ethics in economics and daily life.
One thousand of Deloitte’s employees volunteer for the Junior
Achievement program. Deloitte’s
need to create a pipeline is clear; in
2004, only 3 percent of new gradu-
ates hired by certified-public-accountant (CPA) firms were black, and only 6
percent were Latino, according to the American Institute for CPAs.
During Deloitte’s annual Impact Day, where Deloitte employees volunteer to paint a school in a poor neighborhood and help refurbish classrooms,
the Los Angeles–based office partners with United Way and 30 other community organizations to discuss health with parents. Too often, poor parents
are not informed about the medical services available to them, and their
children’s health and educational capabilities are affected, says Buzzelli.
Deloitte also opens its offices for half a day to poor children, providing
them access to a corporate world.
“Our profession is one of the few where you don’t need capital to be successful, so the barriers to our profession are not high—some work, some
education,” says Buzzelli. “Eighty percent of the  partners in the
“Parents, teachers, children with years of not being
successful think they can’t do it. So we’re shifting
to ‘Yes, I can.’ We all have to take responsibility. If
children are not doing well, it’s not the child’s fault.”
Brenda Manuel, principal, 112th Street Elementary School, Los Angeles
[Pacific Southwest] region were first or second in their family to go to college. So when a lot of us look back, a lot of us have a sense of empathy for
disadvantaged children—a lot of us see ourselves in these kids.”
Virginia Victorin was one of those poor East Los Angeles children who
wondered what happened in the big buildings downtown. Now, she is vice
president of corporate and employee giving at Washington Mutual.
“Downtown L.A. for me was where ‘other people’ worked when I was a
kid,” says Victorin, who grew up in Boyle Heights, a poor neighborhood in
East Los Angeles.
Washington Mutual, in partnership with Junior Achievement, brought
400 children from low-income neighborhoods in Los Angeles to the city’s
2005 Black Business Expo.
“We brought in a group of women managers who were African American
and Latina, and it was the first time these African-American and Latino
high-school students saw Latina and African-American women as bankers,”
says Victorin. “Many students asked, ‘How do you get from the streets to
the suites?’ The answer is by having people who care about me share with
me what it took for them.”
Washington Mutual recently started the Academy of Finance with
Los Angeles’ Manuel Arts High School. Sophomores to seniors at Manuel
Arts learn about finance, how to buy and own a home and why the home
is a family’s most important investment. Washington Mutual also works
with the Pasadena, Calif.–based Frostig Center, a school for children with
“Kids are resilient. We didn’t know we were poor. Kids don’t know that
it’s different until they see the inequities. Kids realize that education … provides hope … which motivates them to take on the challenge of attending a
four-year institution that will enrich their lives,” says Victorin. DI