Florida Memorial University working to shape the mind set of Black males in South Florida
Miami Gardens, FL – August 13, 2015 – Florida Memorial University’s pioneering Black Male College Explorers Program (BMCEP) closed out a successful summer program honoring their top students at an awards presentation. This year’s awards were presented to BMCEP students; Farrell Mays-Most Academic, Isiah Knight-Mr. BMCEP, MVP, Tymoie Coleman-MostAthletic, Daniel Smithen-Most Talented, Ryan Thomas-Freshman of The Year, Eric Vincent-Senior of The Year, Henry Tillman-Senior of the Year, Xavier Jackson-Most Improved.
Due to budget cuts, the BMCEP was experiencing financial constraints; however generous donations from CareerSource of South Florida, The Batchelor Foundation, AT&T and TD Bank allowed the young men to participate in five weeks of highly concentrated developmental experiences, weekly seminars, workshops and motivational trips.
Florida Memorial University continues to build a community for academic success among high-risk male students of color with their BMCEP program. Geared toward black males from grades 7 to 12, the program challenges the students to answer the call to make meaningful changes and help them understand that they can achieve beyond what is often thought or asked of them. Explorers receive tools to improve their quality of life, graduate from high school, facilitate college admissions, and increase their chances to obtain a college degree. High school and college professors are hired to teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects which are an educational priority for the BMCEP program.
The summer residential component of BMCEP allows program participants to reside on the campus of Florida Memorial University. The residential component gives students collegiate exposure and experiences beyond their scope. The program has a 100 percent graduation rate. All of the students have graduated from high school and gone on to a post-secondary education, joined the armed forces or obtained employment. “Each program participant is experiencing collegiate exposure and experiences while matriculating on FMU’s campus during the residential component of the program. Every black male is surpassing the norm in spite of their adversities; it is truly a blessing to see such a transition in the lives of the youth we serve”, states Mr. Shawn M. Davis, Director of Black Male College Explorers Program.
Although there is often a persistent disparity in academic achievement, increased likelihood of being unemployed or incarcerated, and the higher rate of death due to violence for black males compared to their white counterparts, BMCEP provides a blueprint of how to change those narratives, into a positive outcome.
“As we close out the residential portion of the 2015 – 16 Black Male College Explorers Program, I am inspired by the positive changes we have witnessed in the participants during the past five weeks. Each young man leaves our campus intellectually stimulated, socially aware, physically stronger and spiritually awakened,” states Dr. Artis, President of Florida Memorial University. “I am proud of the work we do in our community and look forward to watching these young men realize their full potential”.
In a climate where young black boys grapple with a sense of identity and belonging in school and the world, BMCEP offers innovative programs, workshops, panels and hosted discussions aimed at building their self-worth and empowering them to strive toward success through education. The students learn how to set goals, avoid the pitfalls of the criminal justice system, and develop good decision making skills. There is also an emphasis on computer programing, science, as well as a weekly spiritual enrichment session. This summer’s program included a Q&A session with Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. The students had an opportunity to ask very poignant questions about the relationship between young black males and officers. Sheriff Israel shared tips on how to behave when you have an encounter with an officer as well as sharing with the young men the sensitivity training that Broward County officers are going through to help improve relationships with black communities.
The fall session of BMCEP jumps into gear in September with a 5k Education walk, assistance with creating a profile for college, college recommendations and enrollment for the school year. For additional information about the Black Male College Explores Program contact: Mr. Shawn M. Davis at 305-626-3163 or Mr. Kareem L. Coney at 305-626-3108.