Miracle on Harrison Avenue

Meet our neighbor, Andy Rios, a recent graduate of Sequoia High School in Redwood City. 

Andy is on his way to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, to study construction management. While he was born here, Andy’s parents are immigrants from El Salvador. He will be the first person in his family to go to college. He has scholarships and loans. 

Several weeks ago, Mary and I sponsored the first-ever Harrison Avenue block party. 

About 30 people showed up and we found out what great neighbors we have. Andy and his family were there. I told everyone he was going off to college and he got a thundering round of applause… but that was just the beginning. 

I sent an email to everyone who attended the block party inviting them to donate to a fund to give Andy a big send-off. The money poured in. Just before he leaves, I’ll give Andy an envelope with $1,050 in cash. This will certainly help him with books and miscellaneous expenses. More important, it says to him, “Your neighbors care about you and your future. We’re rooting for you, Andy!”

Imagine going away to college and being away from your family for the first time, but with your whole neighborhood pulling for your success. 


Oh, by the way, Andy realized his long hair takes too much time to manage, so he now has a more practical “do.”

5 thoughts on “Miracle on Harrison Avenue

  1. Colleen says:

    Yo Rick, Great to hear how the neighborhood rallied behind Andy. It reminds me of this story from the NYTimes on August 24th: Italian Neighborhood Builds a Social Network. It started with some newcomers posting notices for a meetup and now there is a street-wide e-bulletin board connecting folks. Good on you and Mary!

  2. Rick says:

    Yesterday, an old friend and former client, Paul Stasi, called to say he wanted to donate to Andy’s college fund. Amazing. Paul lives in the east bay and has never met Andy. I gave Andy the money this morning and he was deeply touched. He leaves in two hours for his new adventure at Cal Poly.

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