Back in 1987, Oral Lee Brown adopted an entire first grade class of students from Brookfield Elementary School in East Oakland, California and promised each of them a chance to receive a college education if they were to graduate from high school. After annually saving and investing $10,000 of her own money and establishing the Oral Lee Brown Foundation, she sent 19 of the original 23 first graders to college.
Amazingly, she has also made the same promise to five other classrooms, adopting a new group of students every four years. In a world short of heroes and dedication, Oral Lee shows it is still possible to change lives for the better.
The Oral Lee Brown Foundation helps impoverished families break the cycle of poverty through education. The students are often the first to graduate in their families.
The organization’s activities reflect a unique approach to meeting the community’s problem of high school drop-out rates in the low income areas of Oakland. Oral Lee works to bridge the gap between under-privileged students and provides mentoring, tutoring, counseling, and other services to help students break the cycle of poverty.
Oral Lee has an unending desire to make a difference and has made a huge impact on children. Her pledge to students was not without great personal sacrifice, but her commitment to helping kids reach college has turned her life upside-down for the better. She has developed a strong emotional attachment to the children she helps and serves as a consistent, positive adult figure in their lives.
Oral Lee continues to do amazing things by also providing after-school programs and Saturday school for under-privileged, low-income students in the Oakland area.
The foundation is not just about giving away money for college, but it is about enriching the lives of the students through programs such as mentoring, computer training, college touring, monthly meetings, grade and attendance monitoring, and so much more. Oral Lee and the Oral Lee Brown Foundation have made amazing strides in improving education, and that is why Oral Lee is a Daily Point of Light.