When you learn, teach. When you get, give. Maya Angelou taught me that.
I recently went back to my hometown, Kosciusko, Mississippi, to dedicate a new Boys and Girls Club community center that my foundation team and I had been working on building for the past three years. I wanted to practice what I preach, and give back some of what I've been given to children born and raised in the same environment as I was. The 32,000-square-foot space will offer more than the comforts of home: a library, music center, kitchen for cooking lessons, computer labs, tennis and basketball courts. It will be a place to learn about yourself and about how life works.
There was no place like that in Mississippi when I was growing up, and even if there had been, Jim Crow laws would have locked me out. Now everyone is welcome. What a joy to witness the whole community uniting for the good of all its children! What I know for sure is that great and miraculous things happen when people come together with an intention to create hope and opportunity.
I believe the children who are given a chance will do us all proud.
From the November 2006 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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