Monday, November 27, 2006

"Why Community Service?" event serves purpose


On November 4 from 9am-1pm 200 plus people received the answer.
"Why Community Service?" was an event organized and visualized Ms. Callie Herd, the founder of I. A.M. (Inspiring Academic Motivation) educational services and the award winning http://www.ctherd.blogspot.com which lists millions of dollars worth of opportunities in scholarships, internships and jobs. Over 20 plus representatives from colleges such as Rhodes College, Christian Brothers University, Knoxville College, http://www.utk.edu, Southwest Community College, Tennessee State University, my alma mater Wash U. to community organizations such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Memphis, Alpha Memphis Youth Leadership Development Institute, Youth United Way Program of the Greater Mid-South, ARIZE and NIA…Even the U.S. Army was on hand to recruit…

Mr. Willie Brooks, Chairman of the FedEx African American Network gave the Welcome to the audience to get them ready and prepared for one of the greatest events on earth...


Popular local DJ Nappy Wilson now proud owner of art by R2C2H2
Mr. Marlon "Nappy" Wilson a popular local DJ on the Hip Hop radio channel Hot 107.1 fm was the Moderator/MC…He did a wonderful job in keeping folks jovial and focused by blessing us with his own brand of comic relief and sincere enthusiasm…

We also had an illustrious program panel representing various aspects of College readiness...

One of the key highlights included longtime Tennessee State Senator Steve Cohen (now Congressman-Elect Cohen) making a stop during his busy and last campaign weekend to discuss the TN Lottery Scholarship program he helped to create...He is known as the "Father of the TN State Lottery"...The then Senator now Congressman urged students to put the pressure on Tennessee lawmakers in Nashville to allocate more money from lottery earnings to increase the scholarship fund along with increasing the income limit to $45,000 (approximately)...He provided an overview on how the Lottery program works...What made Mr. Cohen's stop even more special was the fact that he made it a priority to speak at this event which actually cut time into his meeting with Martin Luther King III, the son of the legendary American Civil Rights Icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. @ the National Civil Rights museum…I am proud to say that Mr. Cohen was a part of the historic Democratic takeover of the U.S House and Senate and is now known as U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen who represents the grateful District 9 of Tennessee…We all wish him well on his new endeavors and I have no doubt that he will do us proud and honorable…

Christian Brothers University Assistant Director of Admissions Ms. Tela McEwen provided an inspirational speech which told all in attendance to dare to be different by defining your own life and defying low expectations…She told her personal story of how she went from being an underachieving High School student with 1.50 GPA to graduating from college and owning her own house at the age of 25!!!


Community leader Clint Anderson now a proud owner of art by R2C2H2
United Way of the Mid-South Impact Manager and K97 Peace Achiever of the Month (November 2006) Mr. Clint Anderson stressed the importance of knowing and serving your community and your community knowing and serving you...Two members of the Youth United Way (YUW) program shared their experiences with us on how the YUW program helped them to step out of their comfort zone into challenging yet rewarding leadership roles...

Mrs. Rhonda L. Martin of Southwestern Community College was on hand to talk about her alma mater's Knoxville College's Work Program which gives graduating high school students with low GPA's, but a burning desire to improve themselves a second chance through a post-graduate work program...The work program gives the students internships in their field of study and promises 100% job placement post-college, if completed...
Mr. Kenneth Carpenter of the Alpha Memphis Youth Leadership Institute was on hand to talk about the program and how leadership is an important role in preparing students for community service and life...He also promoted the leadership program that will be starting in January 2007.

Tim Gibson the Associate Director of Rhodes College Admissions spoke on Diversity and what role it plays in preparing a student for Community Service and college...He also provided information on Rhodes Tuition Reduction program for African American Students wanting to attend Rhodes College...Rhodes College is so interested in recruiting more students of color to the predominantly white academic institution (which is ironic considering Memphis more or less is a chocolate city no Mayor Ray Nagin) that they will meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for all accepted African American students...See link for overview: http://ctherd.blogspot.com/2006/07/rhodes-college-tutition-deduction.html


Ms. Janice Ousley gave parents and students alike a blueprint for creating a college portfolio...


Ms. Lou Conley provided a parent's overview on preparing students for college...

Mr. Charlie Folsom who represented http://www.utk.edu recruitment efforts in Memphis through PowerPoint shared the admission process of UTK as well as explained the dos and don'ts on making a positive first impression via your college application...

I, R2C2H2 Tha Artivist, humbly represented the Wash U. John B. Ervin Scholars program of which I am proud alumni …I informed the audience about the wonderful life and legacy of Dr. John B. Ervin who was the first African American Dean of Washington University in St. Louis…I also told them about the decision to make the program, once exclusive to students of African American heritage, open to all qualified students regardless of race and ethnicity two years ago in response to the Supreme Court decision concerning Affirmative Action…In spite of these turn of events I urged them to create their own gravy when the gravy train ain't coming no more…I encouraged the students to stay competitive and to create opportunities out of seemingly dead end or hopeless situations…I also promoted the NIA arts organization, the only Black Artist collective in the Memphis-midsouth area…

A truly sober and moving moment came when Ms. Callie Herd a.k.a. "The Straw That Stirs The Drink" took the podium to address the theme of the event and promote her resourceful website: http://www.ctherd.blogspot.com ...The blog provides an infrastructure on college readiness, scholarships, internships, summer programs, FAFSA, ACT/SAT, and much more. She also highlighted briefly "Why Community Service?" was important, especially with the recent Supreme Court decision on "Affirmative Action" that was a result of the University of Michigan's Law School case...She gave an emotionally charged and direct speech on how important that each one of us play an important part in the development and success of our youths…We shouldn't expect for others to help if we don't first help ourselves…She stressed with affirmative all but rendered useless by the courts that we must be accountable for creating opportunities for our own by sharing information and inspiring academic motivation(which is coincidentally the name and purpose of Ms. Herd other business venture I. A.M.)…Basically the point of Ms. Herd's speech from what I can gather is that it takes one to start the change process, but it takes a committed group or village to keep it going...Also, she emphasized that the members of the audience were the seeds being planted for others to learn about "Why Community Service?" is so important...

Mr. Tedarrell Muhammad was the keynote speaker for the program...Mr. Muhammad is the founder/visionary and co-owner of Everlasting Spring Water Company...In just 5 short years this company went from a small business to a multi-billion-dollar money making machine...The spring water that Everlasting produces is considered among the best tasting in the world...One of the owners in the Everlasting Spring Water Company is former NBA superstar and $82 million dollar man Larry Johnson...Mr. Muhammad who is also a devout member of the Nation of Islam headed by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is a very civic minded and socially conscious businessman. His Everlasting Spring Water brand was the official water beverage for the 2005 Millions More Movement in Washington, D.C….He also sent truckloads of his great tasting water to Hurricane Katrina survivors...He talked about how it was very important to have a strategy or plan to whatever you are trying to accomplish…Mr. Muhammad stated that although he was making $10,000 a month selling bottled water when he first started his business he wasn't maximizing his inherent potential or capabilities...His wonderful wife Deidre Muhammad (who has a MBA degree) told him that he must run his business like a business if he wanted to succeed to the fullest in the long term...In other words one must have or create an infrastructure and plan in order to receive the full benefits of one's business venture. He also stated the following: "True education is not measured by degrees, but how well one uses his/her resources to create opportunities for growth and wealth"...Mr. Muhammad eloquently stated how it is necessary to create opportunities to make money and create wealth for brothers and sisters graduating from college as well as returning from prison so that they can immediately become productive and contributing members of society...Mr. Muhammad warned that if we don't then we will just be feeding the American Prison Industry Complex more of our valuable young...
Mr. Muhammad also wanted students to know the other side of his background to help them see that doing negative things are not the best, but to strive to be excellent within being honorable and legitimate...Although not college educated, Mr. Muhammad declared he earned his degree majoring in street smarts...Mr. Muhammad, a man with much integrity and character, did not try to hide the fact that he did time in federal prison for selling drugs...Mr. Muhammad always had the gift for selling...He was so successful at selling drugs that he made anywhere between $20,000 to $30,000 a day...He was also good at deception especially when it came to deceiving loved ones…His mother whom he loves dearly was kept in the dark about much of his illegal activities…He mentioned that he used to hide is fully loaded luxury car around the corner from his mother's home so see wouldn't see him driving it...Mr. Muhammad stated that when he went to prison was when his true education began and he learned how to be a man...He discovered his spirituality and humanity and decided from that point on to commit himself to a life of legitimacy and excellence...He stressed the importance of putting one's priorities in order...He stated that before one can help anyone else that one must take care of one's own needs first, the family second, the community third and then the world fourth...Overall, the charismatic Mr. Muhammad's hopeful and passionate message left the audience feeling rejuvenated (like one would feel after drinking Everlasting Spring Water) and ready to take on the task at hand and succeeding in their career goals...


Mr. Charles Settle of the TSU Memphis Alumni Association presents the prize to Mr. Carlos Jones.
In addition to the above a fully loaded HP laptop computer courtesy of Sylvester Tate of Tate Computer Systems along with donations from FedEx African American Network (AAN) and TSU Memphis Alumni Association was given away to a deserving student...The winner of the computer was Carlos Jones of Wooddale High School.


As show of appreciation for their time, input and wisdom the majority of participants were awarded plaques courtesy of Bill Kinkade and Champion Awards and framed art by R2C2H2 Tha Artivist.

Afterwards everyone who participated (including the audience) in the food for thought event were invited to taste the culinary stylings of Home Cook Catering…Just like a mind an appetite is a terrible thing to waste or ignore!!!

The sponsors of the event were the following: (please click to view - http://ctherd.typepad.com/AfroAmerCollegeStudents.ppt)

Tedarrell Muhammad - Everlasting Pure Spring Water
Dean James McLeod - WUSTL John B. Ervin Scholars Program
Sylvester Tate - Tate Computer Systems
FedEx African American Network (AAN)
Charles Settle - TSU Memphis Alumni Association
Bill Kinkade - Champion Awards
Clint Anderson - Youth United Way

*A very warm thanks to Mr. Andy Rousseau for being the official photographer for "Why Community Service?"...All photos seen in this article is courtesy of his talent...
© 2006-1104 Andy Rousseau/Penha Photography.*

Special Thanks goes to the following individuals:

Dr. Bill Adkins, Overseer Marion Douglas, Pastor RaDontae` Ashford (Youth Minister), Karen Mallory Boozer - Greater Imani Church, Melvin Jones and Dr. Sybil Mitchell -Tri-State Defender, Bernal Smith - Memphis 100 Black Men, Chancellor Robinson - City University School, Trevor Campbell, Tracy Bethea and Michael Andrea Davis of 95.7, Hot TK of 107.1 FM, Tom Dees of Good Morning Memphis, Alex Coleman of Live @ 9, Kristopher Burke, Delnise Moore, Ardia J Cunningham, David Warren, Keith Williams, and Jeff Higgs - Knoxville College, Janice Maddox - Hope Scholarship, Craig Dulniak - Congress-Elect Cohen's office , Joann Towry - Champion Awards, Nadia Wilson, Home Cook Catering and the Planning Committee (Ronald Herd, II, Debra Westbrook, Lizzie Taylor, Dorothy Mason, Audrey Maxwell, Lou Conley and Callie Herd (organizer))

Also,Ms. Herd have updated her website with new opportunities for 2007 Summer Programs along with new and expiring 2007 Internships ( http://www.ctherd.blogspot.com ). As always share with others.

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