Hi! Our feature Charlotte nonprofit introduction for this week is Lori Krzeszewski of Behailu Academy.
I had the opportunity to sit down and learn more about who she is and everything she’s doing with Behailu Academy and I’ll tell you now… I’m fanboying hard over here. We share a common passion and that’s education especially for those who are at an age where having someone to guide them can be what makes or breaks their success in life. Lori is definitely awesome.
I highly recommend that everyone takes a moment to learn more about Behailu. These kind of programs are essential to the success of our youth and also our city. I asked her five questions. Joanne Spataro asked one.
What are you most passionate about?
In general I think I’m most passionate about making a difference in the world and making our community be a better place. It’s kind of a social justice thing in making sure that everyone gets a shot at the life they want to live and helping them do that through education and support. Social justice and inequality are really important to the work I do and who I am as a person.
What frustrates you?
What really gets at my core, I would have to say misperception. Maybe stereotypes. Maybe even a better way of saying it is close mindedness when people see our students or they hear what we’re doing. You don’t have to believe the things I believe or think the things I think but when you’re not willing to think about or even entertain anything other than your own point of view makes me insane. Because there’s so much more out there. It makes me insane. It also makes me really sad because you’re just shutting out so much and so many and that’s just infuriating. Unfortunately there’s a lot of close mindedness in the world and it doesn’t get us any further along.
If you had visitors in Charlotte for one day where would you take them?
I love walking. I love going place to place so we’d probably do a little start in Southend and maybe go have a beer and some food at Common Market. Then maybe walk down through Romere Bearden park. If there was a baseball game maybe do that. Watch a soccer game over at Hooligans. I would take them to the small local places that I love. We would definitely walk or bike.
If I gave you $10,000 right now what would you do with it?
I can spend it however I wanted? I would probably put it in a bank account that I couldn’t touch until I had two or three months of time where I could use it to travel abroad and I would probably make that $10,000 stretch. I could probably make that stretch for like a year and half abroad. Yeah, that’s what I would do. My heart is definitely in South East Asia. I’ve spent some time living there and I miss my friends and people back there. I think I would start out there and I would love to backpack around that region and make my way.
What’s missing from Charlotte
I would say in general what’s missing are opportunities are spaces for authentic interactions among groups that are diverse. Whether that’s on the basis of race, gender, socioeconomic status, Charlotte in general is segregated on so many levels. I think that we are definitely evolving but when I moved here from Pittsburgh I was shocked by how segregated we are and it bothers me. That for me is a huge missing piece.
Joanne asked if you could be any food what would you be and why?
I think I’d have to be some kind of spicy curry with lots of vegetables. For some reason I feel like that’s who I am. You have your foundation, the rice that everyone eats that goes with anything. Then you have these different vegetables that you can bring in. That just kind of resonates with me most because I know that I’m not for everyone and I don’t want to be for everyone and I’m ok with that.