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Tonight is the annual Latino Student Fund Gala

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Later this evening hundreds of people will gather at the Organization of American States to celebrate the fine work of the Latino Student Fund. With perfect timing for the occasion television station WJLA yesterday broadcast one of its Harris' Heroes segments on the organization's Saturday tutoring program. My wife Michele and I have been tutors with the group for five years helping the same tutees the entire time. Mr. Harris did a fantastic job capturing the magic of these two and a half hour sessions.

But it did not tell the whole story. How could it? For there is a something unbelievably special when you are working with a student and you take your eyes off the homework assignment for a second to stare around the room. There, about 125 kids are seated with 125 adults toiling away at academics. It is a such a tremendously positive experience for a number of reasons.

First, all of the grown-ups are volunteers. Now, you might think that coming to the National Cathedral School in Northwest Washington, D.C. on a Saturday morning is no big deal. But all of us are extremely busy and after a long week there are many other things we all could be doing. It reinforces a belief in the goodness of mankind that so many people make this commitment to return on a regular basis like clockwork.

Next, it is certainly all about the kids. Many of them and their families travel hours to participate in the program. For all of us who are parents, or have worked with children, and have delighted in the expression on kids' faces when they finally grasp a concept you have been explaining to them then you get a sense of the reward that we tutors have the opportunity to experience each seven days. The smiles and laughs we share while practicing math and reading are almost too much to describe.

Finally, the program provides hope for the future. The Latino Student Fund is an excellent organization that besides offering a tutoring program assists with college applications, SAT preparation, private school placements, and ESL classes for parents. And there are many nonprofits in town that have been established to strengthen the community. Sitting at the long cafeteria tables I get a strong sense that if we all work together the nation's capital really will one day be a better place.

It's going to be a great night.

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