For almost 15 years now, I’ve had the sincere privilege of being a Southwest Airlines Adopt-a-Pilot. I cannot begin to capture the flood of memories I have from working with these amazing kids over the years. It is one of the few things in life I get to do that never gets old.
The Southwest Adopt-a-Pilot (AAP) program is heading into its 17th year, and, to date, it has reached more than 450,000 kids across America. This year, 40,000 more shining faces will be mentored by over 900 Southwest and AirTran Pilots in more than 1,000 classrooms across the country. After last year’s invitation for AirTran Pilots to “ride along” with an established Southwest Adopt-A-Pilot in the classroom, we were thrilled to have more than 80 AirTran Pilots register to volunteer this year. We appreciate this incredibly generous group of Pilots for giving of their time and know the kids will appreciate it too.
I believe that you will always receive more than you give if the motives are right. After flying a trip, the last thing I want to do is put on a fresh uniform and head off to school—that is, until I get there. When I walk into an AAP Classroom and see those young faces light up, I can almost feel their enthusiasm. Every year I have participated in the program, the benefits have far outweighed the costs.
The Southwest Airlines Adopt-a-Pilot program is a proven way to serve our kids and brighten their futures. Many AAP Pilots have contributed to our incredible AAP curriculum, and this spring they return to their classrooms to send and track rockets in space, build and fly model airplanes, teach life lessons, and even engage our Customers to write letters to their students. Through their teaching and investment, students learned about math, geography, science, and aeronautics, as well as honesty, hard work, and other character traits necessary to be successful in life. Our Pilots impact the very futures of their students.
As Southwest and AirTran Pilots, we get to do our part to shape the future of America by sharing our experiences and knowledge with the ascending generation. Through sharing life experiences and showing genuine concern for students, our Pilots help raise up a generation of gifted young people—and some of those might even go on to become Southwest Pilots.
We know our Pilots are not the only ones at Southwest or AirTran who engage with their communities. We are so glad that we have People at our Company who give so generously of their time to mold and shape the future of America. Your Co-hearts, your Company, and your communities appreciate you.