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Julia Richie
Founder, the YES Foundation

With Detroit schools so poorly preparing the city's youth for the work force, someone had to fill the gap. Julia Richie started her non-profit foundation in 1992 to raise money and mobilize volunteers to teach reading skills, mainly to young African-American students. The group now serves 1,500 students a year.

A few years ago Richie expanded the program to prepare disadvantaged students for elite prep schools and, ultimately, for top universities. The first in this group now attends Cornell University.

"Many of these students love Detroit,'' she says. "They are going to return and bring back the knowledge and contacts and understanding they gain at the nation's finest schools. I'm hopeful for this area because I know there are lots of hidden jewels--cultural and human. They aren't going to stay hidden forever.''

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Last updated August 09 2010: 11:01 AM ET
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