Charles Edwards sat down next to a few other East Palo Alto students on the bleachers outside of the school district building. They showed up that day in 1997, at their first meeting as new FCE students, and heard about how adults believed in them. Every day from then on, Charles and his FCE friends were surrounded by staff, parents, and volunteers all working to give students of color the same type of support that was typical for the average student living in Palo Alto at the time. It’s this enduring focus and collaboration that has shown FCE to be as resilient as it expects its students to be. “FCE continues to be unique, to thrive in this space because it belongs to the community and it always will,” explains Charles.
Charles is part of FCE’s early success story. He earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees, but when asked what matters most about FCE, Charles quickly offers the long view: “FCE puts families on a different trajectory, changing the economy of our community and expanding our choices generationally.” When his younger brother started high school in a new city, Charles helped him identify a support organization similar to FCE to give him the best opportunity to graduate from college.
Today, the excitement around education is naturally integrated into Charles’ family life. Spend a few minutes with his 5-year old daughter and you will learn the name of her preschool and exactly when she will start kindergarten!