My diverse high school experience was central to later work that I did with the Kinship mentoring program for children and youth from disadvantaged environments. On the home front I've also benefited enormously from the experience of a racially diverse marriage and family.
With over 25 years of working in the mentoring field, I've become intensely aware of how neighborhoods that are economically segregated often lack a healthy range of role models for their young people. While there are neighborhoods where some children are surrounded almost exclusively by white collar professionals, others have an abundance of underemployed or unemployed neighbors, and where many of the children's fathers are living in prisons. How much more healthy it is for our children to live with a range of neighbors with varying skills and professions. Having neighbors from a range of professional backgrounds broadens children's horizons as they think about future job prospects.
Mr. Orfield observes that segregation is "about a fundamental divide in who has access to opportunity - jobs, decent housing, safe streets good schools. Where you live determines your basic prospects in life. It's hard to overestimate how devastating it is for families and children to be trapped in failing communities and struggling schools. Or how much it undermines the quality of life, competitive edge, and vitality of the entire region."
With a global marketplace and increasingly diverse work force, the business world recognizes the need for culturally competent employees. They want employees that can understand the wide ranging needs and tastes of their consumers around the country and world.