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One of Alisa's student selling his products at the LMM Sales Event

Life pays you according to your thinking, doing, and giving.

- Rev. Ike


Teacher Spotlight - Alisa Smedley

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E CITY Teacher is a National Winner!
Alisa Smedley is E CITY’s first Certified Entrepreneurship Teacher to be recognized by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) for her commitment to increasing education and economic opportunities for low-income youth.  NFTE founder Steve Mariotti noted that the recipients are “…world class in their social commitment, creativity and talent in teaching entrepreneurship.”    
Nicole and Alisa at the NFTE awards dinner
When asked about this award, Alisa draws a line from her present day successes (which include teaching four E CITY programs) back to the first ten years of her life, when her family lived on public assistance.  A determination grew inside her then, and is with her still.

“[W]hile my mom was on welfare, she earned three degrees.  She also instilled an assertive spirit in us.” Alisa proudly recites the poem that her mom composed when times were tough.  “It’s called ‘Wings of Freedom’ and it goes like this:

I have given you wings, now fly
Leave this binding nest
And soar beyond the clouds
Drink deeply from the nectar of life
Knowing that tomorrow is your sacred armor
Against the hopelessness of today

Alisa and LMM student at graduation

Her mom taught the importance of vision and perseverance, which are also important traits of the entrepreneur, and Alisa passes that on.  “During the program we help them create a mindset,” she explains.  “On the first day, I say: ‘I see a winner in each of you…together we’ll discover your business idea..’”  She wants to give students a full view of business, and organizes fabulous field trips to local businesses to accomplish that.  Plus, she simply loves the kids.  She implements

numerous creative touches like “Dishwashing Conference Calls,” which are designated evening hours when she will talk to them by phone, while she washes her dishes.

It has been said that we are best at teaching those things which we, ourselves, needed to learn.  Maybe that’s why Alisa has been equally as effective with her small acting troupe which teaches basic money management principles to elementary school students.  “We’re called ‘The Money Ladies Live,’” she explains.  “We wear umbrella hats when we do our program, to remind kids to always save for a rainy day,” she says, giggling.  “I want them to start early with good money habits.  A background of bad habits will haunt you.”

Alisa adds: “If I could say something to all of our students, it would be this:  Look beyond today, especially if you’re in a negative situation.  There are so many possibilities!”

“How do you do this?”

Keep learning ? Find good mentors ? Cut ties to negative people

Alisa thinks the best part of being named “Teacher of the Year” is not the trip to New York City for the Times Square recognition dinner, or the $1,000 prize, but the scholarship to attend Advanced Teacher Training with NFTE.  She can’t wait to meet the class of like-minded individuals from all over the country.

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