Friday, November 9, 2007

Community College Diversity

I spent Wednesday afternoon with a Human Relations class at Minneapolis Community and Technical College in downtown Minneapolis. The twenty-five students are working towards an Associates of Arts degree in Business Office Administration. Their instructor, Margret Lydell, asked me to address issues like leadership and diversity.

I spent two and one-half hours addressing those and a good number of other issues like creative problem-solving, critical thinking, attitude and motivation. We had a great session and, at the end of class, they asked several very good, thoughtful questions.

There were several things that stood out for me, but one of the big things was the diversity and the number of immigrant students. At one point, I asked how many students were born in a country other than the United States. By far the lion's share of the students are first generation immigrants.

They told me there are eighty different languages spoken at MCTC! I don't know exactly how representative of their population this particular class is, but it just struck me how such a diverse group of young people are studying at one small, post-secondary institution in the middle of downtown Minneapolis. I think it's great!

They obviously understood me because of the questions they asked, the conversations I had with a few of them after class and the comments a couple of students made to their instructor, Margret Lydell.

After the students had all gone, Margret told me a couple of great stories about what students had told her.

Another good day, doing what I absolutely love. Another reminder I'm not done yet!


wasilla.alaska said...

Mike - You asked somewhere in your blog for comments of people that were there THAT day. I was there, in our family, that year. I remember riding in our uncle's big car, a rag top it seems, in the middle of the winter, with my parents in another car, to visit you. My view was of a hospital parking lot. I knew what had happened to you, I knew where we were, I knew who you were, but now that day is my first memory of you. One may not think that a little boy sitting in a parking lot, in his uncle's car, would ... that it would have much effect on him, but I guess it did. All my life you have been the big cousin that... All my life you have been the man that did not quit, the man that is not done yet. This is not something that happened yesterday, it is something that you have been all of my life... all of your life. My life has tough moments, some very tough moments, ones that have physically hurt me, including my back... I dropped a truck off a jack onto my back over 20 years ago... care to guess who I was thinking about when they were doing x-rays on me? It took a month, but I got up, strapped myself into a back brace and went back to my job, and not an easy one, cleaning carpets. I thought of you that day, and many days following... I cannot say that when things in my personal and financial life have gone south on me, that I have thought of you those particular days, but the man that I am today has been, without a doubt, in some way influenced by that moment in my life sitting in our uncle's car and watching you since that day. I left my brace and pains behind, after many years and months and have lead a healthy life. Each time I have another tough moment in my life, I get up and move forward... I guess that I am also just not done yet. Perhaps what you do today, speaking to kids, may be this intangible thing that is difficult or impossible to fully quantify the effects of, but thank you for doing it. Thank you for not quitting...
Thank you for being "not done yet." --- TDS.

Ma said...

Thank you so much for your visit to our class. I had such a great time listening to your story and looking at all of the wonderful things you have on your Web site. I was truly inspired and deeply touched by all that you shared. I am looking forward to checking in on your blog to see what other interesting things you have to say.

I'm Not Done Yet said...


Thanks for your comments. I had no idea. We all get stuff sooner or later. Some of us get it fairly early on while others get to live for a while before something happens. Like I say in my speeches, "The problem isn't the issue, the issue is how you deal with the problem."

It makes me feel good to know you've learned and been affected by my life.


Cousin Mike

I'm Not Done Yet said...


Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed my presentation. I'm trying to make a difference, and when I get notes like yours, I know I'm doing the right thing.

Please consider subscribing on my main page and you'll get an email every time I put up a new post.



Ma said...

I've added you to my list - thanks!!!