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Southwest Airlines Community

Adopt-A-Pilot Reaches More Than 400,000 Kids

Explorer C

For me, it’s important that we invest in the future of our country by giving from the heart and devoting time to the future generations.  Through Southwest’s Adopt-A-Pilot Program, we Pilots have the opportunity to go into classrooms all across America and help shape impressionable minds.  Helping kids dream big dreams—this is why I volunteer for Southwest’s Adopt-A-Pilot Program to inspire fifth-grade students to find their “wings” and set goals to go after what they love in life.  We teach children about aerodynamics, math, and geography—plus the good ol’ hard work it takes to reach their goals. 

With each visit, I hope that I am able to provide a little extra “push” that could send these children soaring on to greatness.  At many other Companies, this could be an impossible task; however, at Southwest, we have always stood for community and through the Adopt-A-Pilot Program, not only do we get into these classrooms, we have hundreds more clamoring for us to visit. 

Created in 1997, Adopt-A-Pilot started as a community outreach program in just 50 classrooms, and 16 years later it has grown to reach more than 412,000 students nationwide with 900 Pilots participating.

This year, we’re also excited to add AirTran Pilots to this fantastic program. 

Recently, I watched “In the Shadow of the Moon,” a Ron Howard documentary featuring NASA’s living Apollo mission crew members and their remarkable journeys.  I distinctly remember a scene during a layover in Paris when an interviewer asks a young French woman about her opinion on astronauts.  Her response astounds me to this day: “If anyone could accomplish this monumental feat, I knew an American could.”

Ron Howard found that a common denominator among all of the Apollo Astronauts is that they were each given a “push” from someone in their early years.  I ask my fellow Adopt-A-Pilots—will you be the one to give that push?  You never know—there could be a young Neil Armstrong in your classroom.

To get involved or learn more about the Adopt-A-Pilot Program, contact your Domicile Ambassador or visit    

Photo: Southwest Airlines has joined forces with photographer Robert X. Fogarty and Dear World, which works through the medium of photography to give its subjects a simple and profound voice through photos.