By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
May 23, 2013
“l am convinced that knowledge is power — to overcome the past, to change our own situations, to fight new obstacles, to make better decisions.” — Ben Carson, “Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence”
RALEIGH — Well-known neurosurgeon and best-selling author Ben Carson will be in the state’s capital later this month to help give more students access to life-changing education via the Upper Room Community Scholars Program.
Set for June 27 at the Raleigh Convention Center, the fundraising event is being hosted by another neurosurgeon, N.C. Rep. Jim Fulghum, along with his wife, Dr. Mary Susan Fulghum, as well as N.C. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.
“Ben Carson and his family have been an inspiration to those of us who love the Lord and the leadership that He requires of those with talent and capability,” said Rep. Fulghum. “He has shown leadership, not only in the field of pediatric neurosurgury to a great degree, but also in the example he demonstrates to those who see that education is the key to fulfilling the Lord’s wish for all of us to be all that we can be.”
Dr. Fulghum said hopefully the much anticipated evening can be the first of an annual funding event for Upper Room Christian Academy “to allow them to fulfill their mission to educate the children that they have gone so far to educate the last several years in their community.”
That’s also the hope of the Rev. Patrick Wooden Sr., pastor of Upper Room Church of God in Christ, which started the school more than a dozen years ago.
He said bringing Dr. Carson in for the event is an answer to prayer. In fact, he had mentioned to the school’s executive director, John Amanchukwu, more than two years ago that if a nice fundraising event could ever be organized, Ben Carson would be his “dream guest” based on Carson’s “Gifted Hands” story and all he had achieved.
Located in Southeast Raleigh, Upper Room Christian Academy graduated its first seniors in 2012, but had to scale back to pre-kindergarten through fifth grade when funding came up short last fall.
“We had to do what businesses do to stay afloat,” Rev. Wooden said, adding that the goal now is to “‘strengthen that which remains’ (Rev. 3:2) and then rebuild slowly and meticulously.”
Part of that strengthening is continuing to partner with parents who are actively investing in their children’s education, one reason that the Upper Room Community Scholars Program provides only partial scholarships to families in need.
“There is no such thing at the end of the day as a free ride. Somebody has to pay. People do better when they have an investment in something,” Dr. Wooden explained. “To give a free ride would have an adverse effect on the child and the parent…. When there is mutual investment, we can count on the parents and they can count on us.”
He said from an ideological standpoint, the school’s top priority is to bring students to know and to love the God of the Bible and also to learn to love their country.
“If they don’t love this nation, they won’t appreciate America, they won’t understand the key to success is learning,” he said, adding that kids who let the chips fall from their shoulders and begin to see that people different from them aren’t out to get them are “free to love God, love the nation and at the end of the day, be a taxpayer, a wagon-puller and not one of those who is a drain on the system.”
Event planning consultant Joyce Kohn echoed Dr. Wooden’s words as she described the school’s “very conscious efforts in changing lives and changing the face of poverty in Southeast Raleigh.”
It’s a step up and not a hand out. It’s about leadership, about being good productive members of society,” she said.
As for An Evening with Special Guest Dr. Ben Carson, she said it’s shaping up to be a “top-notch” event that is all about education — “the education of the children who are beneficiaries of the scholarships and the chance for business and civic leaders to educate themselves on the issues that come up that night.”
A roundtable discussion with Dr. Carson, open to top level donors, will likely include talk of public policy on healthcare, taxes, national security and more, she said, calling the event, which is being promoted by Civitas Insitute, “a unique opportunity in many ways.”
Following a 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. VIP reception and photo line will be the 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. program with Dr. Carson, special guests and entertainment. Ticket prices range from $250 per person up, with top donors having a chance to have the school’s reading room named in their honor.
Mrs. Kohn said tickets are selling fairly quickly.
Potential sponsors should know that Upper Room Christian Academy is a 501C(3) organization. To find out more, phone 919-210-3829 or e-mail Kohn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Raleigh Convention Center is at 500 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh.