Many kids dream about flying a plane high in the sky, and Davion Lee is no different he dreamed of soaring high as well. “I looked up and saw an airplane and said ‘Mom I’m gonna fly that one day.’ It’s just been a passion that grew in me ever since,” Lee said.
Pilot Jerome Stanislaus is taking Lee under his wing. Stanislaus discovered his interest in flying while he was growing up, but didn’t have the same guidance. There were no black pilots giving free flying lessons back then.
“I told myself that I would never probably be a pilot because I actually never saw a black pilot that looked like myself,” Stanislaus said. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a little over two and a half percent of aircraft pilots are black pilots.
This prompted Stanislaus to start giving free flights lessons, often to kids of color. “Aviation is just, it’s a very expensive career to get into. It is definitely a barrier,” he said.
Stanislaus is a part of Fly For The Culture, a non-profit that promotes inclusion in aviation. a nonprofit organization that offers free introductory flight lessons and mentorships to diverse groups of children, hopes to increase the number of pilots from varied backgrounds.
“I love it, I really do,” Stanislaus said. “I really want to be able to make a difference and this is how I do it, it’s like my purpose.” Stanislaus said when a kid goes up in the air for the first time, their reaction is “priceless.”
In April, he sat down with CBS News reporter Michelle Miller to talk about his passion for mentoring children of color. He participates in Fly for the Culture because of the lack of black pilots & general diversity in the aviation industry.
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