For generations in Black America, a college education was thought to be the silver bullet against poverty and a sure entryway to upward mobility and middle-class life. Rising college-associated costs coupled with falling incomes create a challenging scenario for some Black aspiring college students. This reality becomes more pronounced for first-generation prospects. Many of these first-time college students lack the financial resources or parental knowledge that can create a comfortable transition from high school to higher education. The 100 Black Men of South Florida, Inc. partnered with the Miami-Dade County Public School system to reverse this trend.
“We are hosting our 4th Annual College & Career Expo because we want to make sure our kids are empowered and informed about the opportunities out there,” declares Jonathan Dotson, 100 Black Men of South Florida Vice President of Operations. “Over the past three years the expo has provided over three million dollars in scholarships to kids from our communities.”
Hopefully other civic groups can scale similar collaborations to create opportunities for their youth. The expo takes place at the Miami Dade County Fair & Exposition Center on Thursday, October 30, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. More than 100 colleges and universities will be onsite to provide information about applying to their schools. There is an opportunity for some students to get accepted, receive application fee waivers and scholarships on the spot. Students will have an opportunity to attend workshops, discuss admissions requirements, and apply for scholarships. Senior students attending the Expo will need copies of the following: (A) High School Transcripts; (B) ACT/SAT Scores; and (C) two letters of recommendations.
“We are excited by the outpour of support from our college and vocational partners that have signed on to help students navigate a plan for their future,” states Ellis A. Adger, the organization’s president.
Dotson adds: “Many times our children are not given the exposure that other communities give their children. The 100 Black Men of South Florida are committed to giving our kids the exposure they need to succeed in college and in life.”
Getting a child prepared for college applications, financial aid, and other associated processes can seem intimidating. Dotson offers these tips to ensure your child thrives and remains competitive on their way to college and life success.
Examine Yourself: “Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. It is important that you know your weaknesses because then you can enlist the support of someone or an organization that can help you in that area. Don’t be intimidated because you need help. Focus on the results for your child and your child’s future.”
Become Informed: “Our programmatic thrusts include: Mentoring, Education, Economic Development, and Health and Wellness. There are so many people that care about our children. It is up to parents to find these resources and utilize them.”
Stay Active: “Parents must be active and present in the lives of their children. It is up to parents to engage the community, church, Parent Teacher Associations, etc. We must take back our families and our communities. We have to get back to eating together at the table and talking about our daily lives.”
Hold Your Kids Accountable: “As a parent, you must become familiar with the process and find out everything it takes to become successful. Google the information, become familiar with the requirements and make sure your child delivers on their part. Come prepared with the proper documentation, fill out the forms correctly, and meet your deadlines. Get help if you need it. But, most of all, hold your kids accountable throughout the process. They must have an active part in this process.”
The 100 Black Men of South Florida, Inc. has been at the forefront of mentoring and providing innovative programs for young black males in South Florida. Some of their signature initiatives include Positive Youth Development, Dr. Harold Guinyard Leadership Academy and Collegiate 100 to name a few. These landmark programs have made a significant impact on the young men of the South Florida community.
For more information, log on to http://www.100blackmensf.org
Zach Rinkins is the Associated Press award-winning host/producer of the Rinkins Report. Find out more at www.RinkinsReport.com or on Twitter @RinkinsReport and Facebook @RinkinsReport