Monday, December 15, 2014

Business owner to help homeless

DES MOINES, Iowa —Years ago, Derrick Walton was homeless and had no help. Today he is the owner of Chef D’s Rock Power Pizza and he is making sure he serves up food and goodwill.

Walton made a promise to himself and just weeks after he opened his restaurant, he made sure he kept that promise; food at no charge for those in need;

“This week it’s baked chicken, rice, vegetable, a salad and bottled water,” said Walton.  “The name on the restaurant may say Rock Power Pizza, but on Monday nights, the menu changes to a full, home-cooked meal."

Raised in Detroit, Walton has seen tough times.  But after living in Des Moines for a dozen years, he decided to help others, who are still seeing tough times.  ”I've been doing this for so many years, it's just a passion,” said Walton.

He closes his restaurant on Monday nights and invites homeless and needy families to stop buy, and eat for free.

Volunteer Carrie Knudsen and her son stopped by to help.  It takes a lot of work to prepare a few dozen meals.   Another young volunteer is doing his best at becoming a waiter.

So far customers are hearing about Rock Power pizza through the grapevine.  Helen Christner stopped by Monday night for the first time, and found much more than pizza.  “I said wonderful, we're going to get a meal,” Cristner said.

Walton wants to spread the word.  His kitchen and his heart are open for anyone who needs help.  “I want them to know, you always have a place to come and eat."

Rock Power Pizza is open from 5 to 8 Monday nights to feed the homeless.

Walton says he accepts donations, which anyone can send to or drop off at the restaurant.   Otherwise it's money out of his own pocket.  But he loves doing it.

Read more: http://www.kcci.com/news/central-iowa/des-moines-cook-keeps-his-promise/-/9357080/24148036/-/wnhkcgz/-/index.html#ixzz2xoilJR8Q

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Multi-Talented High School Student Offered Hundreds Of College Scholarships

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Chad Thomas, a senior at Booker T. Washington, is a teen with many talents. So many talents, that he has received hundreds of college scholarship offers.

Thomas, 18, has received 150 scholarships for his skills on the football field, but also for his exceptional musical abilities—playing a total of nine instruments.

Of the football and music scholarships offered, Thomas has chosen to attend the University of Miami and will play football as a Hurricane, and also practice his musical talents at the University’s Frost School of Music.

Thomas helped lead the Booker T. Tornadoes to back-to-back state championships and win a national title this season. But it’s not only being on the field that he loves—Thomas says he fell in love with music at the age of three while listening to his late grandmother’s gospel CDS.

Thomas said his grandmother bought him a guitar and also signed him up for piano lessons. By the time he was five, Thomas was performing.

“My plans…I’m going to UM for music technology and I’m going to play football,” said Thomas.
So play for the NFL or a career in music production—for Thomas his focus in in both.

“So if I make it to the NFL that would be a blessing for me,” said Thomas. But his love for music remains a strong passion. “I have love for music and took it upon myself to learn and play the instruments I hear in the songs.”

Thomas plays the piano, trombone, euphonium (a small tuba), base guitar, regular guitar, snare, tuba, trumpet and drums.

CBS4’s Cynthia Demos asked Thomas, if he had to choose a career in either music or football, he paused for a moment but then finally answered.

“It would probably be music,” said Thomas.

Source: http://miami.cbslocal.com/2014/03/18/multi-talented-high-school-student-offered-hundreds-of-college-scholarships/

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Russell Westbrook Launches New Initiative to Promote Childhood Literacy

Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook’s latest move is a true reflection of NBA players caring about the next generation of community leaders.

On October 27th, Westbrook launched his new “Russell’s Reading Room” initiative at North Highland Elementary School in Oklahoma. Funded by his organization, Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation, the NBA superstar stocked the new reading center with 1,200 books for children of all ages and plans to open two more centers within the next couple of months.

Partnering with Scholastic for their National Read 100,000 program, Westbrook is challenging students to log 100,000 minutes of reading throughout the year. At the end of the school year, Subway will sponsor an assembly with Westbrook and the school that has the most students with logged in reading minutes.

“Reading is a key to success,” Westbrook tells NewsOK. “When people in my position are able to do things like this, give kids something exciting to see, give them some type of encouragement, give them access or some type of way to reward them for reading.”

Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation was launched in 2012 with the mission to inspire kids and encourage them to ask “Why Not?” when faced with the challenge of being told they can’t do something. Westbrook’s foundation hosts annual Thanksgiving and Christmas events for the community in order to provide resources for individuals in need.

Source: http://www.blackenterprise.com/education/russell-westbrook-promote-childhood-literacy/

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Science Behind America's Game


Did you hear the one about the MacArthur genius physicist and the NFL coach? It's not a joke. It's actually an innovative way to understand chaos theory, and the remarkable complexity of modern professional football.

In Newton's Football, journalist and New York Times bestselling author Allen St. John and TED talker and former Yale professor Ainissa Ramirez explore the unexpected science behind America's Game. Whether it's Jerry Rice finding the common ground between quantum physics and the West Coast offense or an Ivy League biologist explaining--at a granular level--exactly how a Big Mac morphs into an outside linebacker, Newton's Football illuminates football--and science--through funny, insightful stories told by some of the world's sharpest minds.

With a clear-eyed empirical approach--and an exuberant affection for the game--St. John and Ramirez address topics that have long beguiled scientists and football fans alike, including:

* the unlikely evolution of the football (or, as they put it, "The Divine Random Bounce of the Prolate Spheroid")
* what Vince Lombardi has in common with Isaac Newton
* how the hardwired behavior of monkeys can explain a head coach's reluctance to go for it on fourth-down
* why a gruesome elevator accident jump-started the evolution of placekicking
* how Teddy Roosevelt saved football using the same behavioral science concept that Dreamworks would use to save Shrek
* why woodpeckers don't get concussions
* how better helmets actually made the game more dangerous

Every Sunday the NFL shares a secret with only its savviest fans: The game isn't just a clash of bodies, it's a clash of ideas. The greatest minds in football have always possessed an instinctual grasp of science, understanding the big ideas and gritty realities that inform the game's rich past, as well as its increasingly uncertain future.

Blending smart reporting, counterintuitive creativity, and compelling narrative, Newton's Football takes gridiron analysis to the next level, giving fans a book that entertains, enlightens, and explains the game anew.


Ainissa G. Ramirez, Ph.D. is a science evangelist who is passionate about getting the general public excited about science.  She co-authored (with Allen St. John) Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game (Random House); and, authored Save Our Science: How to Inspire a New Generation of Scientists (TED Books).

Before taking on the call to improve the public’s understanding of science, she was an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science at Yale University.  Technology Review, the magazine of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), named her as one of the world’s 100 Top Young Innovators for her contributions to transforming technology.  She has been profiled in The New York Times, Fortune Magazine, CNN, NPR, ESPN, The Hartford Courant and numerous scientific magazines (Scientific American and Discover Magazine).

Dr. Ramirez received her training in materials science and engineering from Brown University (Sc.B.) and Stanford University (Ph.D.). Prior to being on the faculty at Yale, she was a research scientist at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, in Murray Hill, New Jersey were she did award-winning research. She has authored more than 50 technical papers, holds six patents, and has presented her work worldwide.

She now focuses her energies on making science fun, and gave an impassioned called to action at TED on the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, which generated widespread enthusiasm. At Yale, she was the director of the award-winning science lecture series for children called Science Saturdays and hosted two popular-science video series called Material Marvels and Science Xplained.

As a graduate student she wrote as a science correspondent for Time magazine’s Washington D.C. bureau, which ignited her passion for communicating science.  Now, she speaks internationally on the importance of making science fun and has served as a science advisor to the American Film Institute, WGBH/NOVA, and several science museums.

Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/05/football-science-concussion-helmet-nfl_n_5924600.html




Thursday, November 27, 2014

High school student goes 8 for 8 in Ivy League college admissions

New York (CNN) -- A New York high school student has made it to the Elite Eight in a different sort of March Madness.

Kwasi Enin of Shirley has been accepted by the eight Ivy League schools -- Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Princeton and Cornell -- and then some. He will have his choice as the decision deadline of May 1 approaches.

"I applied knowing that going to any of the Ivy League schools would be wonderful," Enin told CNN. "I thought if I applied to all eight, I figured I'd get into one ... but from the first one onwards I said, 'This can't be happening!' I was shocked seeing all these acceptances under my name."

Enin scored 2250 out of a possible 2400 on his SAT, placing him in the 98th percentile across the country, according to The College Board. He's also ranked 11th in his class at William Floyd High School, a public school on Long Island, according to his principal, Barbara Butler.

Butler said Enin is not only a model academic student but also plays three instruments for the chamber orchestra, sings in an a cappella group, throws shot put and discus for the high school's track and field team, participates in student government and has had a lead role in school plays since the ninth grade.

"Usually kids are good athletes or good musicians or good actors, but they don't have all three and then on top add student government. It's a balancing act. He somehow finds time to do it all and then volunteer at a local hospital," Butler said.

Butler has been Enin's principal for six years in both middle and high school.

"He is an incredibly modest, humble and respectable person," Butler said. "He is incredibly dedicated and he has his priorities straight. He takes advantage of whatever opportunity he is afforded."

Rachel Rubin, the founder of Spark Admissions in Massachusetts, who also previously served on admissions committees at selective universities, said the feat is extremely rare.

"It's quite atypical," Rubin said, adding that most students do not apply to all the Ivy League schools.

"Standardized test scores and good grades will get a student in the door to have their application read," Rubin said. "But it's their extracurricular activities, leadership experience, exceptional talents, recommendation letters and personal essays that will move a student from a pile of 'maybes' to a pile of 'accepted.'"

Harvard's acceptance rate, among the most selective in the country, was just 5.9% for the applicants for the class of 2017, according to its admissions site.

Enin was also accepted to Duke University and three State University of New York campuses.
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Although Enin has yet to make a decision, there seems to be a front-runner.

"I'm thinking about Yale. I really liked their sense of family, relationships between undergraduates and professors, and the residential college. They also have a strong biomedical engineering program, which is a wonderful combination of biology and creative tools that doctors and health care professionals can use."

Enin added that Yale also has a strong music program, one of his beloved hobbies that he hopes to continue when he isn't hitting the books in college.

He hopes to one day pursue medicine, a dream of his that just so happens to align with his parents' careers.

His parents, who immigrated from Ghana in the late 1980s, are both nurses and pushed Enin to receive the highest grades possible and follow his dreams.

"Health care is a prominent field that satisfies people beyond finances and edifies people and is about moral development," he said.

His advice for future applicants?

"Follow your passions in high school and not just follow suit for what you think can get you into these schools," he said. "Develop your outside interests -- not just academics."

CNN's Laura Ly contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/01/us/new-york-student-accepted-ivy-league/

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Turning Passion into Enterprise: How a Graphic Designer Grew His T-shirt Brand

If you’ve ever dreamed of starting a fashion business, you want to read this. Seun Olubodun, 32, is the founder Duke & Winston, an apparel brand started in 2009 with a cult-like following. Seun has managed to accomplish what few have in just 6 years, turning a grassroots t-shirt company into a thriving retail business. Seun, an experienced entrepreneur, wasn’t feeling challenged by his job anymore and went search of new opportunities.

While visiting his parents in Boston, Seun walked into Johnny Cupcakes, a t-shirt store that smelled like a bakery. He noticed the store provided a unique experience only making one thing – t-shirts – but selling them over and over with a line out the door. A few weeks later, Seun quit his job and sold his Audi A6 to the first cash buyer for $5,200 to start his t-shirt company. “I needed to move quickly before I got discouraged,” Seun says. “If I take the cash right now, I can get started tomorrow.”

Seun began vending at events all around Philadelphia. His first table at a festival sold 40 of the 50 t-shirts he made.  He typically paid $50 a table and made $600 to $2,000 per event. He used the money he earned to buy more inventory. The $5,000 quickly ran out and when he couldn’t pay rent anymore his roommates let him move into the basement on the couch next to the washer and dryer. That didn’t stop Seun; he kept going. Eventually he earned enough to by a van and put the Duke& Winston logo on it. He drove it all around the city and created buzz. “I knew I didn’t have a lot behind me so I wanted to make sure my presentation was above and beyond,” says Seun.

It wasn’t long before he landed his first retail account from Matthew Izzo, a local men’s shop, and Urban Outfitters followed with an order for 300 t-shirts that jump-started the business. But Seun never turned away from his grassroots marketing strategies and averages 100 events during the summer months. Two years into the business, he moved into a bi-level ground floor apartment and turned the downstairs into a showroom that looked like a Ralph Lauren store. Seun opened up his living room on the weekends selling 10 to 15 shirts daily from foot traffic on the block.

Duke & Winston made its first $100,000 in business from web sales and Seun’s apartment. When the city found out he was selling without a storefront retail license, they told him to shut down the showroom. Seun’s landlord thought he was innovative, so he jumped in and helped to renew the commercial license that was previously on the property. The Duke & Winston brand has continued to grow and just opened their first flagship store in downtown Philadelphia.

Seun shared the following advice for turning a passion for fashion into a real business:

Stand Out of the Crowd. Create a top-notch brand so that the company looks bigger than what it is.  Be honest with yourself and don’t buy into your own hype.  Duke & Winston works with a graphic designer from Tommy Hilfiger which gives his t-shirt designs a high-end look.

Know Your Market. Focus on the product you’re selling and make sure there’s an existing market for it. “I create my products for real people,” says Seun. “If I see ten guys wearing something, it inspires an idea for Duke & Winston.” Make sure that you know your product and what competitors are offering.

Focus on Selling. A lot of fashion businesses get caught up in the smoke and mirrors of the industry. Don’t spend a lot of money putting on fashion shows. Focus on the activities that will directly drive sales.

Seun Olubodun’s story shows us that people can make it in the fashion industry if they focus more on building a company that has the opportunity to grow and less on the fashion.

Jamila Payne is CEO of Soul Purpose Co. (SPC), and provides email newsletter, online courses and live events for women committed to building profitable and sustainable enterprises while solving some of the world’s toughest problems. She has held posts including director of African Leadership Academy’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, which was established through a $1.6 million multi-year partnership with The MasterCard Foundation. She is also author of several books including Your Big Year (2013) From Payne to Power. She has been a speaker at events including Jamila has been a speaker at The National Urban League Conference, Black Enterprise Entrepreneurship Conference, and the African Leadership Network and is host of WKDU 91.7 FM’s Heart & Hustle.

Source: http://www.blackenterprise.com/small-business/how-to-turn-passion-into-enterprise-seun-olubodun-duke-and-winston/

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

IPS high school student receives prestigious Gates Millenium Scholarship

INDIANAPOLIS - A Broad Ripple High School student is one of only 1,000 students in the country to receive the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship.

The scholarship -- funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation -- covers a full ride to any college or university in the country, all the way through a doctoral degree if the recipient chooses.

At 16, Alex Dunlap is poised to graduate Broad Ripple Magnet High School a year early in May. She knew all her hard work had paid off when she got the letter announcing her scholarship.

"Oh, I was ecstatic," she said. "I started crying, my mom started crying."

Dunlap plans to pursue her passion for languages.

"I'm going to study Spanish, French and Chinese in college with a focus in Arabic, I'm going to pick that one up as well," she said. "And after undergrad, I plan on attending law school."

Dunlap hopes to fight for the rights of children in foreign countries, but while her travels might take her worldwide, she plans to stay close to home for college.

"I've just recently decided to go to DePauw because they have such a great liberal arts program," she said. "Their study abroad program is great and exactly what I need because of my languages. Their language program is great. And I'm going to be entering as a Bonner scholar, which is a community service scholarship."

Beyond being a great student, Dunlap has a passion for community service. She teaches Spanish to inner-city kids, and she plans to keep volunteering.

She has this advice to other students.

"Always work hard, study hard and make sure you find something you're passionate about in high school," she said. "For me it was languages and it was music. And I was passionate and I loved doing it, so I always worked hard doing it."

Dunlap is the first student ever from Broad Ripple High School to become a Gates Scholar.

She'll meet the other 999 winners when Bill Gates flies them all out to meet each other and network.



Follow Tanya Spencer on Twitter: @tanyaspencer6 | Facebook: Tanya Spencer

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Source: http://www.theindychannel.com/news/good-news/ips-high-school-student-receives-prestigious-gates-millenium-scholarship