Date: November 24, 2007
About: Roderick Warren - Class of 2001
The Literacy Visionary
The Literacy Visionary
The research Roderick Warren has done says that many students "mentally drop out" in the third, fourth and fifth grades. He says that is unacceptable, and everyone needs to do their part to combat that, he maintains.
Warren recently became the CEO of the Vision Literacy Center in Quincy ‹ a place dedicated to eradicating literacy and providing education to its students. The first 15 participants to graduate from the center in September ranged in age from their early teens to their late 40s. The center also is working with youths in the Adams County Juvenile Detention Home and with other students at local schools. Warren also is trying to open more centers.
It's important to him, and those who champion his cause, that those who need help in reading can get it - whether it's with a personal tutor or just excelling at what they can already do.
Youth are our future, Warren says, and he is intent to make it a bright one.
What do you do in your job?
With Vision Literacy Center being in the infant stages, I'm responsible for a lot ‹ janitorial work, clerical work, tutoring, student recruiting, advertising, conducting surveys, parent workshops, sending out partner letters, talking to different corporations to contribute, grant writing, etc.
What has been your biggest accomplishment?
Discovering my purpose.
Who has influenced you the most and why?
My dad has truly been an inspiration. Pastoring is not easy. I have witnessed firsthand his life and can attest that he is a true man of absolute faith. Our lives are a constant test of will and strength in which faith is the prime component. Without his wisdom and guidance, my life would not make sense. He is my hero, my mentor, my inspiration, my friend, my counsel, my homie, my dad.
What motivates you in your job?
Results. At this point, Vision Literacy Center has not produced paychecks, and the only motivator that has keeping power stronger than cash is results.
When students come running into the center flashing "A" papers ... that's a dose of motivation.
What career advice would you give?
Don't chase money. Chase passion.
What do you still hope to accomplish?
I would like to establish 25 of these literacy centers across the nation.
Then in a couple of years I would like to represent professional athletes and entertainers, ultimately ensuring not only correct appropriations and money management but also that they are exceptionally literate and have exemplary communication skills.
What was your first job?
Shoeshine. My dad bought a shoeshine stand from Andy Nicholson, the owner of the Maine Center, when I was in eighth grade. Everyday I was responsible for walking from Quincy Junior High School to the Maine Center and shined shoes for 3 hours daily.
If you weren't running the Vision Literacy Center, what would you be doing?
I would be Jerry Maguire, Mike Soras and Avid Sports' competitor with my own a local agency. I have always wanted to represent both athletes and entertainers.
Leisure time diversions and/or favorite stress buster?
Friends. I am extremely blessed with the world's greatest friends and a world-class girlfriend. Without them, my life would be insipid ‹ void of color, class, and character. I still have the same friends that I had when I was 5 years old. They keep a permanent smile on my face.
What is the biggest need in your community?
More entertainment for young people. Many of my friends vowed to never return to Quincy once they graduated from high school because of this very reason. Sheepishly, I must admit that was my vow too. There needs to be some kind of youth voice ‹ a collaborative group of youth that voice youth-related concerns. There has to be more options than illegal house parties, bars, window shopping at the Quincy Mall, bowling or watching a movie.
What is the ringtone on your cell phone?
Silent. I normally keep my phone on vibrate. One of my biggest pet peeves is when you're talking with someone and their phone starts blasting the latest rap song.
Nominated by Lisa Sams, director of Walter Hammond Day Care: "Rod is truly a young man that will make a difference in the lives of children and families in our community."