Young men in the In School Mentoring program at Booker T. Washington High participated in an Gender Specific Empowerment Forum last week designed to challenge them to be their best and set the example for their peers. The event began with a viewing of actor-director director Mario Van Peebles‘ groundbreaking documentary “Bring Your ‘A’ Game.”
The film details strategies that have improved the lives of urban youth, and underscores how essential educational achievement and high school graduation are to survival and success in today’s world.
After the viewing, students received guidance and “keys to success” from professional mentors in fields from education to finance: Nelson Render, Ennis Harvey, Kervance Ross and Mike Vinciquerra. The group engaged in a “man-to-man” open conversation in which students discussed challenges they faced, and received support from mentors and peers on how to overcome that challenge.
The professionals inspired the students by sharing their unique stories and educational accomplishments. Students received a powerful message to close the day delivered by author and motivational speaker Yannik Mckie. He is also the executive director of The McKie Foundation, a nonprofit corporation that helps children.
The forum was part of the APS Office of High Schools’ In School Mentoring program, which provides professional mentors for students. Mentors meet weekly with their mentees for the entire school year to support them academically as well as socially. This is the second year for the program. Students are paired with mentors in their freshman year and these partnerships continue through graduation.
The forum was coordinated by Isolda Antonio, of the APS Office of High Schools, and Ron Skeete, president of the Thinktwice Institute, LLC.