Issue 417: 4 / 2 / 2012
Southwest’s Upward Bound hosted its annual Career Day and Spring Fling on March 17 at the Union Avenue Campus. This event is designed to expose Upward Bound participants to career information that will help them select college majors consistent with their career interests.
Professionals from various fields such as allied health science, nursing, criminal justice, civic and business communities presented. Former upward bound participant, Dr. Lara Chatman, discussed ways in which the Upward Bound Program assisted and prepared her for college and earning a doctorate degree. Other presenters included Clarence Christian of Project Alpha and Youth Leadership Initiatives with the Men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated; business owner, Carl Person of Customized Solutions – A Person-2-Person consulting firm; Officer Ronald Ross, Police Services and Public Safety for Southwest Tennessee Community College; Powell Odie, intensive care unit nurse for the Veterans Administrative Hospital; Beverly Winfield-Sakyi advisor/retired nurse for Allied Health Programs, Southwest Tennessee Community College; and also from Southwest, Dr. Juliann Waits, associate professor, Biotechnology and Forensic Science Degree Program.
The music was performed by LaKeisha Williams while Upward Bound participants read and recited poems and served as hosts and hostesses. Coordinating the event were, Southwest Upward Bound Program Director Patricia Burnette, Office Manager Wendy Boyd, and Office Assistants Stacey Freeman and Veronika Garner.
Most Upward Bound programs are housed on a college campus and provide academic instruction, individual and group counseling and tutorial services to high school students. Locally, eligibility is determined if a student is in the ninth (9) or tenth (10) grade at Carver, Frayser, Hamilton, or Manassas High Schools; a U. S. Citizen; a first-generation college student; academically and economically deprived; and interested in preparing for college.
After graduation from high school, the Upward Bound Program affords each participant an opportunity to earn up to seven (7) hours of college credit and provides a monthly stipend.
Students interested in applying to the Upward Bound Program may obtain an application from their high school counselor or contact the Upward Bound Office at (901) 333-5117.
Dr. Robert J. Walker, associate professor of Education, has found a unique opportunity to be a role model to young children in the city of Memphis by participating in the “Real Men Read Program.”
The Real Men Read is a library outreach program targeting inner city (urban) child care centers in Memphis, TN. The program was developed in 2007 by Inger Upchurch, manager of Cornelia Crenshaw Library, one of 18 branches of the Memphis Public Library. The program is designed to promote and engage young children between the ages of 3 to 5-years old in the joy and excitement of reading. The end product is creating lifelong readers and future leaders. The program is also designed to foster positive self-esteem in African-American children through being read to by African-American men who will also serve as role models/mentors.
“As an educator and community activist, this program gives me an opportunity to work directly with young children. As a college professor, I spend much of my time training college students to become teachers. By volunteering with Real Men Read, I am able to renew my hands-on experience of working directly with children. I can in-turn be a better teacher to my college students when I return to my college classroom. I am not just telling them what the book says, or what teaching strategies worked when I was a teacher 'back in the day.' I am sharing with them what teaching strategies worked for me a few days ago with a group of young children,” stated Dr. Walker.
More than the joy of reading to young children, Walker said the Real Men Read Program gives him the opportunity to serve as a role model for children who may not have a father figure in their lives. “It brings so much joy to the children, especially the little boys, when they see someone who looks like them reading to them. The program clearly helps to instill in young children the love for reading. The bottom line is, if you can teach children to read and develop in them a love for reading—the rest of their academic success will come easy. Reading is the foundation of all learning,” said Dr. Walker
The Real Men Read program material includes books, puppets, and props—such as musical instruments, using all themes from sharing, friendship, to holiday celebrations. Initially, it comprised four male volunteers visiting child care centers monthly and averaging 30-50 children (toddlers and preschoolers). Today, the program have increased to 26 male volunteers visiting child care centers once or twice a week and averaging 160-257 children (toddlers and preschoolers).