by Letty Fregoso
Ten years ago, 100 black men from Los Angeles started the Young Black Scholars program to help increase the number of black students graduating from high school.
Today, the Young Black Scholars has flourished and is reaching out to more high school students in order to prepare them for college.
“It provides educational activities and parent co-curriculum, and part of the focus is also on student and parent empowerment,” said Bob Peters, director of financial aid.
The Young Black Scholars enrolls high school students from 9th to 12th grade. From then on, the program is set to take the students to different college campuses. The purpose is to get them exposed to the students around the campus and the faculty.
This is one of the reasons why their latest workshop was held here at the University of La Verne. Peters said that by having the workshop here, it gave “an increased awareness of the University.”
La Verne greeted 10th and 11th graders, mostly from the Los Angeles Unified School District, on Sept. 9. It was the program’s first meeting of the year and the first time the students were being exposed to the University of La Verne.
ULV hosted the workshop so that the young students could take a look at the campus and perhaps have future plans of enrolling at ULV.
Seniors Myescha Ervin and DiShawn Givens, two of La Verne’s student leaders, shared their experiences in college and passed on wisdom to the young scholars.
Administrators who participated in the workshop were Dr. Len Hightower, assistant to the president; Ruby Cordova, associate dean of student life; Dr. Loretta Rahmani, acting dean of student affairs; and Harvel Lewis, coordinator of minority student affairs, along with Peters.
“It went very, very well,” said Peters.
He added that most of the students were very quiet on the way over to ULV and some said they did not like waking up so early, and some even said that the only reason they came was because their parents made them.
To help the program, the Scholars Resource Network has set up a strategic force that has been broken down to six forces and three advisory committees. Each committee has its own purpose and deals with certain topics.
The first of the three is education services. This committee helps the student and the parent understand the importance of an education, especially one at the college and university level.
Then they have the awareness of advisory or enrollment services committee, which informs students and parents of what to watch out for when preparing to enter the college of their choice.
A committee also talks about empowerment of parents and how they can get involved in their child’s educational program. It is designed to inform the parents about what it takes for their child to get into a college or university.
In regards to the program, Peters said, “It is especially successful and it is supported by a variety of people in the universities.”
The next meeting of the Young Black Scholars will be held at Cal State Dominguez Hills on Saturday, Oct. 14.