Resiliency Training For African American Boys - By Jean Perry
Invited to sit in on a meeting of the Resiliency Training for African American Boys workshop, I pictured a classroom-like setting and feel. I couldn’t have been more wrong. What I found was a circle of about fifteen black boys and their parents, eager to learn what role they would play in this group gathering that somehow felt different. The boys introduced themselves and named the schools they attended. Private, public, and charter schools were represented.
“I know you don’t know each other,” said program founder Donna Tiz-Tate, “but by the end of the program you’ll have had an opportunity to start friendships that, for some of you, may last a lifetime.” This seemed to intrigue them. The room was quiet. The air full of expectancy. Tate introduced her staff, all young college students or college graduates who personify her belief that all young people can climb high and go far, provided they have meaningful direction.
Tutor Britton Smith 25, a graduate of Cal State Chico in Business Management, now works in the area of business 2 business sales.
“My sister Barbara participated last year,” he said. “It seemed to be a beneficial experience for young teens; a chance to get out of the house and be in a positive environment.” He added that black boys see more and more blacks, entertainment mogul Jay-Z for example, breaking the mold of what entrepreneurial energy can accomplish. Britton hopes the program will grow and multiply. “Just as Silicon Valley is known as the birthplace of tech, why can’t Resiliency Training for African American Boys, bubble up in Los Angeles and the city become known as the center for encouragement and renewal?”
His sister, tutor Barbara Smith, 23, is a graduate of Pepperdine University with a major in Sports Medicine. “I like to help and mentor people,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to give back to the community. I teach the emotional vocabulary workshop. Once boys have the vocabulary to express their feelings they do so. I get to see how they feel when they come to the workshop, and how they’ve grown and changed by the end.”
Tutor Brian Pham, 26, is a University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), graduate with a major in biochemistry. He’ll be tutoring in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities.
“I want to give back and see others succeed academically,” Brian said. “Science is important because it teaches you to think logically and to solve problems using analytical methods.” He feels he’s helped as much as the kids are. “Tutoring is usually very structured but with this program, I get to know the kids and see them grow, not only as students but as young men building interpersonal relationships.” Pham co-authored study guides for the SAT, ACT, and Algebra II. These are available at www.shmoop.com.
Besides academic tutoring, other activities include journal writing, field trips, group chats, nutrition, mindfulness, and sports. The group’s sport this year will be Lacrosse.
Start Date: July 13, 2019
End Date: August 17, 2019
Time: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Location: Consolidated Plaza,
3725 Don Felipe Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90008
Fees: Call for details
Ages: Boys 12-17