Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on August 18th, 2015

Harris Rosen: Leading the remarkable resurrection of a community.

Harris Rosen
Harris Rosen  
Photo: ucf.edu

The community being resurrected is Tangelo Park, Florida, population 3,000. It is a predominantly black community located in the Orlando area near Disney World.

When Harris, a wealthy hotel owner, got involved in Tangelo Park in 1994, drugs and crime were rampant, many homes were shuttered and nearly half its students dropped out of school.

Today, the crime rate is low, property values are rising and nearly all of its students graduate from high school and go on to college or trade school, with scholarships paid for by Harris.

It is now a desirable community and here is its incredible story:

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In 1993, when Harris visited a Tangelo Park elementary school, he asked the children how many of them wanted to go to college. Only two or three hands were raised.

"That has to change," Harris told himself.

Because of Harris, it did change and here are some of the actions he has taken in working closely with the community leaders:

Each child is prepared for kindergarten, having attended a free day care center from age 2 and a prekindergarten class, all paid for by Harris.

College was unaffordable for most students, but Harris provides full scholarships, and students know they can go to college. To date, nearly 450 students have received a scholarship.

In all, Harris has spent $11 million and he continues to invest.

He is so proud of the students that he attends their graduations, even those from prekindergarten, and mingles with the families, sharing in their happiness.

"This program is drastically different from others because it wraps both arms around the community and says we are here to serve you and help you become the best person that you can be," Bernice King, the daughter of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the director of the King Center in Atlanta, told The New York Times.

Harris summarized the key to success in one word for The New York Times, "Hope." His actions have brought hope to a community where it was severely lacking.

Harris hopes that other wealthy individuals will adopt downtrodden communities. And by working closely with their leaders, uplift those communities to become beautiful places to live and beacons of hope for all mankind.

Success Tip of the Week: Imagine what is possible when everyone works together.

Editor's Note: To learn more, click here. To listen to Harris and Tangelo Park residents in a six minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl05RFFqxus. Thank you to my son Kyle for calling this story to our attention.

In the next KazanToday: A godsend to women and children fleeing homelessness, domestic violence or human trafficking.

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