March 1, 2017 | By Bekah Harger
You might be aware of how challenging working at a law firm can be. With billable hours, complex cases, and other urgent matters it’s hard to be motivated to do more work outside of the office. However, McCathern has many attorneys and staff who are willing to go above and beyond in their lives outside of work, helping the community or raising awareness for a cause.
McCathern attorney Joshua Redelman, with the help of his mother, Christine Miller, recently celebrated the launch of their non-profit organization, Generation Change. Josh was raised in West Virginia, where Generation Change is located, which was formed to revitalize West Virginia’s education industry. Recently, he was able to give us a little peak into what it’s been like preparing for the launch and the reason for its creation.
Q: Tell us a little about Generation Change.
A: “Currently, there are over 700 open teaching positions throughout the state. Many of these openings exist in the most vulnerable areas. We seek to eliminate that problem.
Our mission is to recruit highly-qualified high school seniors into the teaching profession. We do this by offering full-tuition scholarships in exchange for a promise to remain in West Virginia for five years following graduation. During the students’ four year education, they are paired with mentors who guide them through their student teaching and qualifying exams. Building on this partnership with educators, we hope to create an incubator of sorts. Here, researchers and educators are free to exchange new techniques and, if successful, implement those strategies statewide.”
Q: What led you to want to start this with your mom?
A: “A love for my home state and a desire to improve peoples’ lives.
I come from a family of educators; my maternal grandfather was college professor and his wife, a former WV Teacher of the Year. Two of my aunts are teachers in Virginia and my mother is the Executive Director of West Virginia School Improvement. Prior to this role, my mother developed a reputation for taking poor performing schools and turning them into some of the most respected in the county.
Now, I want to partner with my mom to turn around the WV education system, which will help the state reverse direction towards prosperity. Change begins in the classroom. Specifically, change begins with highly qualified educators inspiring the next generation of students to be passionate about learning. An educated populous can do anything. Simply put, education is the catalyst to prosperity.”
Q: How can your knowledge and career in law help Generation Change?
A: “As an attorney, we are advocates and counselors. Here, rather than advocating for a position in the courtroom, I am advocating for future generations of young West Virginians.”
Q: What are some challenges you faced getting this off the ground?
A: “We have two major hurdles: (1) funding and (2) media coverage. Currently, we are spreading through word of mouth. However, in order to grow into the non-profit we envision, we must get coverage in newspapers, resolutions on the house and senate floors, and support from teacher unions.”
Q: Do you and your mom split work evenly or what do you spend your time on vs. she spends her time on?
A: “We split our time. My mother is the brains behind the operation. She is developing the incubator and using her contacts to raise money. I am doing all the legal work and website development and a high school classmate is leading our media outreach.”
Q: Last question, why didn’t you become a teacher as well?
A: “I wanted to help people in a different way.”
Good luck to Josh and his mom! We are so excited to see how Generation Change grows and develops in the years to come. Check out the website and learn more about their cause at https://www.genchangewv.com.