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In a March cover story for The Atlantic, author James Fallows offered a hopeful view of America. Traveling from small town to small town over three years to discover and articulate an alternative narrative of the country, he wrote, “Many people are discouraged by what they hear and read about America, but the closer they are to the action at home, the better they like what they see.”

In other words, America might be on the decline, but “not in my backyard.”

In fact, here in Wilmington, we have a new reason to be entirely hopeful. Today, as public schools begin a new school year, 100 sixth-grade girls, most from disadvantaged neighborhoods, will begin their paths toward college graduation. The Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington (GLOW), a sixth through twelfth grade school and part of the Young Women’s Leadership Network of 18 schools nationwide, is committed to the vision that “She will graduate, go to college and succeed in life.” In so doing, GLOW Academy and its sister schools are equally committed to diminishing teenage pregnancy and high school dropout rates, thereby breaking the cycle of poverty and reliance on public services.

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