Since 1942, the United States has observed February as Black History Month. Here at CBSNewYork, we’re celebrating it by recognizing accomplished black New Yorkers. Below, Larry Mullins reflects on his experience with Sandra Timmons.

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Sandra Timmons says you couldn’t pay her to take a job, working with a bunch of kids all over again and in a “non-profit” setting. No way, no how. Hah!

sandra e timmons president of a better chance and 1010 wins anchor larry mullins 1010 WINS Black History Month Spotlight: Sandra E. Timmons

I met her in the offices of “A Better Chance”, which basically identifies young geniuses in our schools and communities, and channels them towards programs and schools of higher learning – so they can be all they can be. It was so funny hearing her talk about it; she says a friend asked her to substitute one day, with some kids in Newark. She says it was fun, and the kids were amazing. But she says in the weeks and months afterwards, they kept asking her to come back to head the operation.

Now you’d have to know Sandra Timmons, and actually “see” her body language…when she says, “I was happy working with a group called “Girl’s Inc”, and I love kids, but no way am I going to be the leader of this group, and be in charge of fund-raising and all that.” (And she almost rolled her neck when she said it, Salt’n Pepa style).

Listen: Sandra Timmons speaks about what A Better Life does for the students

Well, the president of the college board persisted, and now Ms. Timmons is, as she says, in the job of her dreams! She’s got kids, some of whom have never even been to Manhattan. She says one little girl was sitting in an orientation for A Better Chance, staring out the window. She learned that the kiddo was a genius in class, but had no clue about her immediate surroundings, outside Brooklyn! Chris Rock’s wife mentioned a similar experience she had when I interviewed her a couple of years ago for this program. What’s up with that?!

Anyway, Timmons says it makes her heart dance with joy to see these kids come into the program now, and especially when they find out how special they are, and that they can further their education in a setting that’s more in tune with their level of learning. Both Sharon and I almost cried when she mentioned a girl who grew up in a drug infested home, with no dreams, no social life, no nothing. Well that little girl now speaks three languages, and she’s living and working in the Bay area of California, making a good living. And there are others that have gone through A Better Chance, like Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Singer Tracy Chapman, New York State Senator Bill Perkins…to name a few. Timmons told me not to tell anybody, but she says this is truly one of those jobs she’d do for free. Ssshhhh!!!

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