Established in memory of J.J. Stokes ’92, who passed away while still a student at Deerfield, Stokes Foundation seeks to foster “innovative athletic, extracurricular, and residential life programs” in city schools.
In accordance with its motto, the foundation, which was launched in September 2010, brings “the life-transforming elements of boarding school life directly to students in need.” The foundation, through various partnerships and programs, hopes to make accessible to children attending under-funded schools the “meaningful youth programming” available to boarding school students.
According to Founder and Executive Director Ray Walker ’92, Stokes Foundation will “work until every kid has something to do after school, and every kid has to do something,” just as prep school students must participate in sports and extracurriculars.
“Education in America can make a huge turn-around,” said Walker (who was one of Stokes’ best friends while at Deerfield), once help and encouragement are offered to the “sixteen million children currently not actively engaged in after-school programming.”
Unlike other programs that seek out talented inner city youth to attend private high schools, Stokes Foundation “delivers elements of Deerfield directly to struggling urban schools,” in a progressive manner emphasizing the message of “service before self,” commented Walker.
“It is my duty, pleasure, and honor to do this work,” said Walker, “to operate in service of individuals and communities in need.” Walker encouraged Deerfield students to “connect via Facebook, and look for possible future internships.”