Saturday, April 5, 2008

Proud Mama Moment

Founding MYNG and working daily to take things to the next level can be quite overwhelming, frustrating and taxing at times. Today I consider the challenges to be totally insignificant as the MYNG family celebrates the first college acceptance (Ft. Valley St. Univ. & Central State Univ.) for one of our seniors. My heart is so full that I cannot contain my excitement. Today I accept the roadblocks along this journey if the detours lead to moments such as this one.

Miss Edwards we congratulate and celebrate with you, as you grow closer to beginning a new chapter in the book entitled, "Your Life".

Friday, April 4, 2008

The New Color of Success

It is very comfortable working with students that are excited about attending college. The harder challenge is when you have to motivate young people who don't think college is an option or the answer to their success. In 2008 young people are living in the age of "New Hollywood" and the perception that being famous or wealthy is not derived from a college education. The images are athletes that walk across the stage to receive their diploma to center court in the NBA; Child stars that have branded themselves to gross over 300 million dollars or singers that with the recording of one demo tape instantly go from rags to riches. I don't want to represent myself to say that young people should not aspire to be athletes, rappers, etc., but I do want them to take note that there are more options. I often use Beyonce as an example with my students. I tell them that Beyonce is "loaded" but so is her lawyer, accountant and real estate agent to name a few. The Hollywood star success stories are phenomenal and inspire me, but they are not the only stories.

I was given a book to read by one of MYNG's board members. Niki Butler Mitchell authored, "The New Color of Success: 20 Young Black Millionaires Tell You How They're Making It". I absolutely have enjoyed the book. The stories are not about millionaire athletes, singers, rappers, models, etc., but about African American millionaires that have started wine distribution, contracting, media, telecommunication and environmental companies, to name a few.

I love what the book represents because most (not all) of the stories are centered around college educated professionals. The stories in this book represent people using their gifts for writing, networking and computer technology to form million dollar companies. Many are in the fields they studied in college and many are not. What is key is that college served as a tool for their success. Whether in the form of their first internship, a college professor that became a life mentor or just taking the time to build their skills, a college education contributed to their success story.

These are the stories I want my students to hear, read and use as a form of inspiration (I certainly do). I don't want them to fall victim to the idea that success and wealth is determined solely by dribbling a ball, singing a tune or dancing in a video.

"In this country, we define success solely in terms of money...but I think you're successful if you're being paid to do what you would do for free." Takashi Bufford, President and CEO--Kid, I Love it But You'll Never Get It Made, Not In This Town. (Former lawyer now writer and producer for movies such as Set It Off) You think he writes and reviews his own contracts????