If you ask Jamal Poindexter what he remembers from his days in Educare, many of his stories will be familiar: class parties, making friends, and expressing his love of music with the aid of a stack of blocks and some makeshift drumsticks. “I also remember [the classroom] being a lot bigger!” he says with a laugh.
Now in his first year at the SAE Institute Chicago, Jamal praises Educare for teaching him skills that have benefited him as he pursues a future in music production and as a recording artist. “I build all the instrumentals for my songs myself, but as an artist, you have to work through a team. [Being at Educare] started me off socializing with other people the right way, and I think that’s a big part of life in general –learning to interact with people you work with, people who you might have conflict with, and you learn how to deal with it.”
Long before entering college, Jamal put those skills to use working on film sets with the likes of Chicago icon Chance the Rapper and rehearsing with his drumline for their performance at the inauguration of President Obama. He also made a big impression on executives from Def Jam Records, who co-sponsored the construction of a recording studio at his high school, along with Adidas.
“When I first started writing and found my first song, that was big. I put my emotions and creativity into that song, and it was so different. Educare helped me in that – being creative, and expressing my creativity.”
It’s a skill set he hopes the next generation of Educare students will have the opportunity to learn. “I hope that the kids there now and in the future become more outspoken than my generation…That they’ll have a voice and words to put out—of encouragement, change and new ideas.”