The Young Scholars Program a Beacon of Hope
The Young Scholars Program has been in existences since 1999. At its inception, it began with 50 African Americans and 50 Latino students both male and female. After 16 years of success in helping more than 1200 students make their dream of a college education come true, Jacqueline Rushing, the Founder and CEO of the Young Scholars Program, decided to change the focus of the clientele to solely Young Men of Color to become effective the fall of 2017; thus, giving the young ladies currently enrolled in the program, support for their college matriculation. Ms. Rushing will continue to consult independently with young ladies, but will no longer conduct a program for girls after June of 2017.
The reason for the shift can be found in the tragedies that have occurred with Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown and unfortunately many others. Ms. Rushing believes that young men need hands on support to help navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of adolescence to adulthood. She believes, young men need to get on board her “New Underground Railroad” in order to travel to true freedom land: College and Universities throughout the United States. While none of the afore-mentioned young men did anything that should have resulted in their deaths, Ms. Rushing realizes there is a need to help Young Men of Color learn how to cope with challenges in their lives and to make intelligent and informed decisions. These young men need mentors, and a guide to lead them on their journey to adulthood and success. The Young Scholars Program provides a beacon of hope and guidance for the road to adulthood that will result in these young men becoming the hope of our future.
Ms. Rushing is the visionary behind this new change in clientele. She however recognizes that she cannot teach Young Men how to step into their manhood. Thus, she has employed the support of a dedicated group of men to implement the program she designed. These men meet with the young men in a one-on-one meeting once month. At that time, they discuss chapters of a selected book and they have task to help them build a rapport. These meetings offer the young men an opportunity to discuss their dreams, and their hopes. It also provides the young men a chance to discuss challenges they may be facing and get sage advice on how to overcome obstacles through thoughtful and informed methods rather than reacting in anger. Young men learn skills to become proactive and not reactive. The mentors and young men meet as a group on the third and fourth Thursday of the month. At these meetings the modules for academic success, persistence and life skills are taught by the mentors.
It speaks to the dedication of the men in the program that some have been mentors for over 10 years. The average mentor has been with the program for three years. Many volunteers for the program are parents of former high school scholars whose children are currently college scholars or college graduate scholars. Ms. Rushing, the staff and volunteers are dedicated to helping the scholars make their dreams of a college education come true.
B MAD – BROTHERS MAKING A DIFFERENCE BMAD came into existence when 5 men decided not to just discuss a problem, but to be agents for change in helping young men with their ascension into manhood. In 2004, Mr. Paul Flenoid, Mr. Adee Hannah, Jr, Mr. Ronald Mack, Mr. Jerry Sims, and Mr. Sal Tulah, founded Brothers Making A Difference with the motto: It is okay to BMAD. BMAD was created for young men who are doing well in school and who want to go to college, but may lack access to information on how to get there. BMAD provides information, leadership training, and mentors to help guide the young men to fulfill their hopes and their dreams.
P2BK P2BK came into existence after Ms. Rushing had visited an area of street altars for 5 young men who had been killed in one weekend on the corner of MacDonald Ave. and 23rd Street in Richmond, CA. Protestors had put up tents on a vacant lot at the intersection. A friend of Ms. Rushing, Gary Bell (who is now deceased), took Ms. Rushing to see the tent city, as they were referred to back in the day. Ms. Rushing was disturbed by what she saw and when she returned home and retired for the evening, she could not sleep. She decided to get up and be productive. Little did she know that in the next hour, she would create a program to support a larger demographic of young men than those that were currently being served by BMAD. Thus, in 2008 P2BK was born.
Rising Scholars Rising Scholars while P2Bk answered the need for an after-school program to serve African American young men throughout the Bay Area, Ms. Rushing understood the way to bring about real systematic change for young men is by affecting what occurs within a school district. She also knew the importance of including services not only for African American young men, but for other young men of color: Latinos, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders who are also marginalized within school districts throughout the country. Thus, through the work of the College Bound Brotherhood, the willingness and support of West Contra Costa School District, and a vision for an even larger demographic of young men, Rising Scholars came into being in 2014.