The reason behind HDG University is simple – to ensure that every black and brown boy, girl, and adult… every person has an equal chance to succeed and reach their fullest potential to have a great life. Growing up in Chicago gave me a layered experience and a window into the lives of people from all walks of life. But, more importantly, it helped me understand how essential it is to invest in our education and community by providing a quality STEM education.
On the one hand, Chicago, Illinois, has a history of classism, racism, political corruption, miseducation, gang violence, and criminal enterprises. Then, on the other hand, it has a flourishing economy with a rich history of social justice, grassroots organizers, champion educators, brilliant creatives, legendary entertainers, bootstrapping entrepreneurs, innovative inventors, intellectual geniuses, and a solid blue-collar working class. These aspects of my life and experiences have helped shape me as an educator, creative, family advocate, mentor, and entrepreneur.
I had the great opportunity to work with DCFS, National PTA, and K12 and teach at the Art Institute. DCFS helped me learn the backstory behind the scary statistics that plague our communities and cities of lost children forgotten in the system. While working for National PTA and K12 gave me an inside look at the formulas, methods, and processes being implemented by experts on the front lines. Those brilliant scientists, teachers, administrators, academics, therapists, educators, and advocates work daily to solve many of the world's problems with a sense of urgency. This career experience enabled me to place myself in the shoes of many as their lives and plight become even more relatable.
It sparked compassion, passion, empathy, sympathy, understanding, and a desire to advocate for orphans, the poor, the disabled, dismissed, disenfranchised, and disadvantaged. By establishing an education-based non-profit for underprivileged and underrepresented communities, we can create a platform and resource with amazing partners for them to explore the world of STEM and develop the skills needed to thrive in today's economy. In addition, this would help close the racial gap in STEM, giving Black teens and adults more opportunities to pursue STEM-related careers and, in turn, help to create a more equitable future for everyone.
This is the "why" or reason, which is the foundation of the vision for HDG University.
LaVar "LV" McCline