For the past few years, GOPisForMe has been developing its education initiative in Navarro County, with a pilot program involving the Hispanic Republican Club of Navarro County. From beginning to end, the Stepping Stones initiative has been tweaked and crafted into it’s current form, a turn-key program for Republican organizations to use to make positive steps in reaching into the Hispanic and Black communities.
We all know the Republican Party hasn’t spent the time in the community, developing the relationships and trust, like the Democrats have done. Now, we’re faced with a population explosion in Texas, and in a few short years, Hispanics will be the majority. Many Texas residents are unsure of the future, somewhat concerned of what that might look like.
With the current trends in the Hispanic community, it’s easy to understand one’s concern. High-school dropout rates are through the roof, and immigration issues are peaked, with illegal immigrants now living among us. Some shake their heads and wonder, “what can we do?” Others, like certain members of the McLennan County Republican Women’s Club take action.
For several months, I have been talking with Ann Bradley, President of the McLennan Republican Women’s Club. We talked about our group and especially, our Stepping Stones education program. She wanted to know how she could help…how they could help. After several conversations, she knew exactly how she would help, and suggested we get a group of women from her group together to go over the basics of our program…to see if there was any interest.
That meeting turned into a second meeting, which unexpectedly ended up at Ann’s house. It was to be the full program description, with details and structure. Kim Chambers, Outreach Director for Texas Federation of Republican Women was in attendance, along with several interested women. When that meeting came to an end, we scheduled our first actual “working” meeting, where we were to make calls and set appointments with parents who wanted to hear more about our Stepping Stones initiative.
Carolyn Adams graciously offered her office for us to use, and we all showed up with our cell phones, ready to launch the program in McLennan County. We gathered around the conference table, Carolyn pulled the speaker phone out, and I began making calls, so everyone could hear. I dialed a few times, with no answers. Someone asked, “What does this phone show as caller ID?” Carolyn responded”….Financial Services…” We all started laughing. “No wonder no one’s answering..they probably think it’s a bill collector,” I said.
After I switched phones (now using mine) people began to answer. One of my calls was to a woman with a daughter who will be a senior this year. “How far along are you in her college process?” I asked. “We haven’t even started…to be honest, I don’t know where to start,” she said. Immediately, I put her on speaker and continued the conversation. When it was over, we had set an appointment to meet with her and discuss her daughter’s options. She was relieved to have that call, and when I hung up, everyone seated at the conference table understood exactly what we needed to do.
They each stood up, took their call sheet, and started making calls. It was amazing to see, and a moment I will never forget. We set a new course for people that night. Before we began, we had no idea how it would go. By the end of our two hour session, we set three firm appointments and gave people hope again. This is the power of Stepping Stones…it is a tangible outreach effort. The results of a successful program are a long-term benefit for the community and the Republican Party.
I am thankful to the many people who made this possible. From Janet Jackson and Jimmie Kerr, to Tony Abad and Sylvia Baack…to our friends in Navarro and counties across Texas who believed in what we were doing. Stepping Stones is the real deal, and we encourage you to get involved. If you’ve been looking for something to do…other than just go to meetings, join us. We could use the help!