For the past three years, I have had the privilege of watching the magic of the Adopt-A-Pilot program from a front-row seat. I have received letters from grateful teachers, who are amazed that a Corporation would take the time and effort to provide materials and volunteers to come to their classroom free of charge. Letters have come from Pilots who have been touched by the innocence and lack thereof displayed by the 11-year old students with whom they interact as Adopted Pilots. And yes, I have received letters from parents, expressing joy because their child came home from school to report that they had glimpsed the dream of a career that might lift them out of their community. Each of these is a reason to celebrate the real impact volunteers who care can make.
Today, Southwest Airlines celebrates the official takeoff the 14th season of Adopt-A-Pilot®. More than 1,400 classrooms across the country will “Adopt” Southwest Airlines Pilots through a program that leads students through science, geography, math, writing, and other core subjects, all based in aviation-related activities. Students also will research careers, develop life values, and realize the importance of staying in school.
The 2011 program has more than 800 Southwest Pilots volunteering as Adopted Pilots, a program record! During the four-week long curriculum, Pilots volunteer their time in participating classrooms and correspond from the “road” via e-mail and postcards. Classrooms chart the Pilot’s course on an official United States route map and complete lessons related to the Pilot’s monthly flying schedule. To learn more about the program visit www.southwest.com/adoptapilot.