Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Young Entrepreneurs Receive Top Honors

It should have been a moment of victory for Prince Ansong Debrah who had just won a neighborhood basketball game. Instead, the then-16-year-old found himself nursing a knife wound after being attacked by a defeated opponent. Finding relief in entrepreneurship, Debrah used the incident as inspiration to achieve his lifelong goal: social entrepreneurship.
Debrah was one of 28 young entrepreneurs honored by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) at its Dare to Dream awards gala, Wednesday night. The event recognizes NFTE student members who have demonstrated unique entrepreneurial spirits, according to the global organization which creates programs, curricula and training for schools and organizations on entrepreneurship.
“Later in life I plan to open my own accounting firm and use some of the profits with that to venture into social entrepreneurship,” says the 18-year-old. “I plan to open a community organization so young people don’t end up staying out [in the streets] and having the wrong influences in their lives.”
Held in New York City, the ceremony also honored NFTE teachers as well as three companies with its 2010 Entrepreneurs of the Year award including Blue Mountain Capital Management and Wolfensohn & Co. Students honored represented NFTE branches from around the globe including New Zealand, India, and Switzerland. More than a dozen of these young money smart teens showcased their businesses, products and inventions earlier in the evening.
"Our Dare to Dream Awards Gala is one of the highlights of my year. It's a celebration of the incredible accomplishments of the students and teachers we have chosen to honor from around the world for their hard work and entrepreneurial spirits," says NFTE founder Steve Mariotti.
Debrah joined NFTE as a sophomore in high school after taking an entrepreneurship class. He used the business savvy he developed in the class to start Day by Day, a Yonkers, New York, company that sells customizable calendars. At $20 each, the calendars won the teenprenuer a growing clientele, selling up to 60 calendars a month.
Though Debrah began pursuing his interest in business two years prior to the knife attack, the incident inspired him to go the route of social entrepreneurship to help bring about change. He decided to attend Babson College in Massachusetts, a selective business school.
As part of one of his classes “[we’ll] visit a low income neighborhood and we’ll help the kids with their home,” he says, with hopes of opening his own community center in the future “I’m just trying to help these kids because I don’t want to see them become the kid who attacked me.”

Prep Star’s Rise Aided by His Brothers’ Best Intentions

Prep Star’s Rise Aided by His Brothers’ Best Intentions

ASTON, Pa. — Tyreke Evans has been rehearsing for this moment since he was 6 years old, when his brothers used an old boxing trick and duct-taped his right arm to his body, forcing him to dribble with his left hand. He learned a game of basketball Twister to improve his first step and played in the rain and the snow, even carried his basketball to bed.
Now, at 18, Evans is a 6-foot-6 guard considered by many to be the top high-school senior in the country. On Tuesday, he was named to the McDonald’s all-American team. On Thursday, he and his teammates from American Christian Academy here will play on ESPN2 against St. Anthony High School of Jersey City, ranked No. 1 in the USA Today poll. On Friday, Evans will take his final recruiting visit, to top-ranked Memphis.
Soon, he will choose among Memphis, Louisville, Villanova, Texas and Connecticut. After one year in college, he is widely expected to jump to the N.B.A.
It is all part of a carefully orchestrated attempt by three older brothers to shield him from the troubled streets of his nearby hometown, Chester, Pa., to give him the private high school education they never had, to help him realize his dream of playing professional basketball.
The brothers call themselves Team Tyreke, and they have arranged for their younger sibling his own trainer and chiropractor, even a barber who is on call and will travel at a moment’s notice.
“He carried that ball like Linus carried his blanket on Charlie Brown,” said Reggie Evans, 35, manager of a communications company and Tyreke’s legal guardian.
And yet, despite the brothers’ protective efforts, Evans’s ascendant season has also drawn unwanted attention and concern for his safety. He was present Nov. 25 when a 19-year-old Chester man named Marcus Reason was shot to death in what the police have described as a possible gang-related killing. Evans has not been charged with any crime.
After playing a basketball game that day, he told the police in an affidavit, Evans drove his Ford Expedition with three passengers to watch the ending of an N.F.L. game at his aunt’s house in Chester, a tattered former manufacturing center south of Philadelphia.
Evans told the police that upon receiving a phone call from his mother, who said she had finished baking some pies, he was leaving his aunt’s house when his passengers yelled: “Go! He’s about to shoot!”
He said he heard a gunshot coming from behind, then heard a second shot that seemed louder. While driving away, he said, he looked over at his cousin, 16-year-old Jamar Evans, who was sitting in the front passenger seat and was placing a silver handgun into the pocket of a hooded sweatshirt.
Reason died of a gunshot wound to the chest. Jamar Evans turned himself in to the authorities in December and has been charged with murder. A preliminary hearing has been set for Feb. 28, and he is expected to argue that he was acting in self-defense.
Another passenger in the vehicle, Dwayne Davis, told the police in an affidavit that Reason had begun to run toward the Expedition with a pointed gun and had fired a shot as Evans drove away. Davis said he heard another shot, which sounded louder, and saw Jamar Evans pulling his arm back into the vehicle and placing a handgun into his sweatshirt pocket.
Robert Faline, a Chester Township police officer investigating the case, said in a telephone interview that there was no evidence so far to show that Reason fired a gun.
An unidentified witness told the police in an affidavit that Reason claimed that he had been having problems with some people in Evans’s group. The witness told the police that the front passenger window went down on the Ford Expedition and that Reason was shot as he walked down a set of steps.
Faline said that while Tyreke Evans was considered a witness, there was “no thought” of bringing charges against him.
Said Reggie Evans: “He’s an innocent kid. I wouldn’t say he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was at his aunt’s house.”
There was some initial concern about possible retaliation against Evans because he was a visible figure who had been a witness to a crime and had cooperated with the authorities. The family did not hire bodyguards, as has been reported, Reggie Evans said. Still, precautions were taken to protect him.
Jeremy Treatman, a promoter who has showcased some of American Christian’s games this season, said he hired extra security for a game at Widener University on Dec. 27. The Philadelphia Inquirer described the American Christian team as entering the gym with a police escort and having its locker room guarded by a Widener security officer.
“It was a little tense; no one knew what to expect,” Treatman said.
The police presence at American Christian’s home games, played at the Tri-States Sports Complex in Aston, also increased after the shooting, Faline said. In recent weeks, though, concern about reprisal has seemed to diminish.
No reports of possible threats against Evans have emerged, Faline said.
Still, Reggie Evans said, “I want to be cautious.”
At practice on Tuesday, there was no security presence, and Evans seemed relaxed around his teammates and brothers even though he had come from his grandfather’s funeral.
“People thought this would be the downfall of my game, but I didn’t do nothing,” he said of the shooting. “I feel safe. I’ve got good people around me. I don’t worry about nothing.”
Some have questioned his judgment in placing himself in such a potentially threatening situation. People close to him, though, described this situation as an aberration. “He’s not around that kind of stuff,” Reggie Evans said. “He is what he is, a basketball player.”
Tony Bergeron, the coach at American Christian, said that what he liked most about Evans was not his 30-point scoring average, or his 8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 4 steals a game, but his humility. Tom Konchalski of Queens, who runs a scouting service called H.S.B.I. Report and has seen Evans play numerous times, said: “People may look at that shooting and say he’s a thug, but I don’t think that’s the case. Sometimes you have people around you that make mistakes. He shouldn’t be judged by that.”
Konchalski compared Evans to Derrick Rose, a freshman at Memphis who was sheltered by three older brothers in a tough Chicago neighborhood.
“I don’t think he’s a bad kid, in spite of what happened with his cousin,” Konchalski said of Evans. “He’s not that outgoing. He’s sort of guarded. That might be good. A kid like that, who’s received that kind of attention, he’s got to be suspicious of the motives of people. I think he’s a good kid. A protective cocoon has been set up by his family. Growing up in a rough area like Chester, you need family support. That is critical.”
From the time he was 4, Evans was coached in Biddy Ball by Reggie Evans. Another brother, Eric Evans, 30, known as Pooh, played point guard at Cheyney State University and helped him develop his jab step and ambidextrous dribbling skills. Julius Evans, 37, a onetime playground star in Chester known as Doc, is a kind of shot doctor who monitors a routine in which his brother takes 1,200 to 1,500 shots every other day, time permitting.
Bob Hurley, the coach at St. Anthony, said Evans was hard to stop. “He’s like a great running back in football, able to plant his feet and change direction and avoid people,” Hurley said. “At the high school level, he can get a shot for himself anytime he wants.”
When Evans was 14 and became part of a national-champion A.A.U. team, his older brothers began to formulate a plan for his future. They try to meet once a week, or once every two weeks. Together, they serve as a kind of familial Global Positioning System, said Julius Evans, a shipping manager for a coffee company.
“There are so many ways they can go,” he said. “There’s no reason for a kid to carry a gun. We don’t condone that. At the same time, you don’t know what kids are going through. It’s important to stay involved and make sure you see what’s going on, make sure they do the right thing.”

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ursula Burns to head Xerox, will be first black woman to be CEO of Fortune 500 company

The new head of Xerox Corp. is a native New Yorker who grew up in a lower East Side housing project.
Xerox will be the first Fortune 500 company headed by a black woman when Ursula Burns, 50, takes the reigns this summer.
Burns replaces Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy, 56, who told shareholders Thursday she would be retiring in July and had picked her lieutenant as her successor.
Burns climbed the corporate ladder at Xerox, beginning as a summer engineering intern in 1980 and rising to president of the printing giant in 2002.
As president, Burns oversaw a large chunk of the company's operations including overseas research and development, engineering, manufacturing and marketing.
She helped to build Xerox into the world's largest maker of high-speed color printers.
Last year, Burns ranked 10th on Fortune magazine's top 50 Most Powerful Women in America. She's the second-highest placed African-American woman behind only Oprah Winfrey, who was ranked No. 8.
Reached at their Rochester home Friday, Burns' teenaged daughter, Melissa, 16, called her mom "a great person, a wonderful inspiration."
"She has taken us back to the old neighborhood a few times," said Melissa, a reference to Delancey St. on Manhattan's lower East Side. "Apparently it's a lot better now than it was when she was growing up."
Burns, who attended Cathedral High School, was the middle of three children from two different absentee fathers.
In a 2003 interview with the New York Times, she described growing up poor in "the projects" - with "lots of Jewish immigrants, fewer Hispanics and African-Americans, but the common denominator and great equalizer was poverty."
Burns' mother took in ironing and ran a home day care center so she could send her kids to Catholic schools.
Burns, a math whiz, graduated from Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn with an engineering degree. She got a master's degree in mechanical engineering in 1981 from Columbia University.
After she was named president, she told a reporter, "My perspective comes in part from being a New York black lady, in part from being an engineer. I know I'm smart and have opinions worth being heard."
Burns is married to Lloyd Bean, a retired Xerox scientist. The couple have two children.
She wouldn't talk Friday, but in a letter to her staff, she said: "This company has ... provid(ed) me with opportunities and experiences I couldn't even dream of as a little girl growing up on the lower East Side of Manhattan. I feel so fortunate."
She and her family celebrated by going out to dinner after the promotion became official.
"The house is filled with mail and flowers," daughter Melissa said. "We are all happy for her."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shireen Mitchell: Digital Sisters

As a teenager growing up in the New York City Projects in the 1980s, Shireen Mitchell ventured where no young black girl had ventured before: the local video arcade. "The store owners tried to kick me out because I could beat anyone there with a quarter, so they weren't making any money," Mitchell says. "I couldn't imagine anyone who didn't like tech—that was my world. But in 1984, I was the only female there."
Today the company Mitchell keeps outside the arcade is not that different. A social-media consultant, diversity advocate, and tech nonprofit founder, she still often finds herself the only African American female on IT teams and at conferences. Only about a fifth of science and engineering managers are female, and even fewer make it to the board level of prominent high-tech firms.
"Even if the door is wide open and unlocked," she says, "if someone walks past the room and peeks in and sees a bunch of white men, they'll wonder if they're welcome. Until everyone understands what it's like to walk through a door when the people inside don't look like you and wonder why you're there, we still have work to do."
For Mitchell, this work comes in the form of Digital Sisters, an organization she founded to provide young girls early exposure to technology and, even more important, an environment that encourages their passion. Mitchell remembers her own youth: "In high school I had all the tech savvy, but I had counselors that would try to gear me toward something other than tech." Without creating silos, she says we need to close the gap between the support women and men receive when interested in technology. "We encourage boys more in these spaces because we anticipate their success, even if we don't see it yet. Whereas with girls, we wait to see their success before we believe it."
Today, plenty of people have become believers in Mitchell and are starting to practice what she's preaching. Jon Pincus, former general manager of strategy development in online services at Microsoft, has recruited Mitchell to work closely with him on his new Seattle-based startup, Qworky. "Most software is written by guys for people like themselves. Even if it's unconscious, it seeps into everything," Pincus says. For this reason, he's tapping Mitchell to help him design Qworky's technology, culture, and Internet presence to be more inviting to a diversity of users from the get-go. "One of her real strengths is that she balances the tech aspect, the social aspect, and the political aspect. You can usually find someone who can do two of those," Pincus says. "It's very rare to find someone who can balance all three."
As Mitchell looks out over the technology horizon, she sees more and more opportunities for women, particularly in social media. They take as a starting point the way people organize information and think socially, and idesign technology around those interactions—which Mitchell thinks is perfect for drumming up greater female involvement. "It will not only attract more girls," she says, "but it will speak more to the things they're good at."
Among those things, according to Mitchell, are patience, meticulousness, and an instinct to make sure something works perfectly before handing it off—traits, she points out, that were part of the reason why many of the early programmers in the 1940s and 1950s were female. "When it comes to tech, especially design, I can tell you without question that girls are better at it," Mitchell says. "We wouldn't have a version 6 with bugs still in it. Women wouldn't allow that." --Lillian Cunningham

Prince George’s Center bringing Technology to the Masses

For 12 years, the Patriots Technology Center in Seat Pleasant, Md., has hosted an annual youth technology summit. On April 24, the center will hold its 13th edition of an event planners say has grown by leaps and bounds.
“It certainly was more of a community focused group 13 years ago in the Seat Pleasant area, but since that time I believe it’s taken on a much wider swab,” said Jon Rutherford, a spokesman for the center. “We’ve had students and attendees from Virginia, Baltimore and points north and south because it has grown in its positive view.”
The center itself is a nonprofit organization to help students get involved in science, technology or math (STEM) fields. It is one that Rutherford says has changed the lives of many young men in the community.
“We’ve had kids that come to the program with very little focus; their attention span was quite short,” he said. “Now I see them graduate from high school and go off to college and they stand tall, talk with authority and are proud.”
Thurman Jones, president and brainchild of the center had that in mind when he thought of ways to get more out of the center. That’s how the idea of having a summit came about.
“The idea was to bring organizations, who are saying we need more students—mainly minority—to major in STEM careers, together,” Jones said. “From the high-tech firms to federal agencies, they’re all saying they need more minorities for STEM careers.
“At the event, the companies will set up an exhibit so kids can get familiar with their organizations and also tell the kids about some of the programs they have for the students.”
Some of the organizations involved will be BAE Systems, Best Buy, Pepco, Microsoft, the Naval Academy, Department of Defense and NASA.
However, company presentations isn’t all there is to the summit. There also will be several workshops for students and their parents along with various competitions.
For students, they will have workshops and competitions on computer building, web page development, networking technologies, and robotics.
In the computer building contest, teams of four students will build a computer from the ground up with the fastest and most efficient team winning. All members of the winning team will receive a new laptop as a prize.
For parents, their workshops are geared towards helping their children be as successful as possible in STEM careers. There are workshops on partnering with federal agencies to pay for college and gain employment after graduation and finding the right software to help students improve classroom skills. Jones says working with parents is just as important as working with their children.
“We have parents there because we think parent involvement plays a huge role in student success and going to college,” he said. “Most students really don’t know the roadmap to go to college and, a lot of times, parents can do the research, get involved with people that know about getting scholarships, community activities or getting jobs.”
For people at the center, having an event on this scale is a sense of pride. They say they have a responsibility to make sure all kids have an opportunity to gain access to these fields, but they are very pleased that people are able to see something good coming out of Prince George’s County.
“When we started out, we were pretty much focused on the African-American community in Seat Pleasant. We might’ve had 50-60 kids at the first one,” said Rutherford. “These days were seeing upwards of 500-600 kids or more; plus parents and session providers. This is still a source of pride for us.”

Sunday, April 25, 2010

They're Back: Monthly $10,000 Scholarships For Minority Students

Columbus, OH -- is giving away a $10,000 scholarship every single month to a high school or college student who is 18 years of age or older. The scholarship award can be used to pay for tuition, books, housing, and more. To apply, students simply have to register online, view free information from sponsor colleges and universities, and then confirm their registration.
Applicants must have at least one parent that is an African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, or Native American. Female students of all ethnicities are also eligible. In addition, applicants must be permanent residents of the United States, and must be planning to attend or are already enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at any college, university, or trade school

At the end of the month, one random winner is selected from a drawing and the scholarship monies are paid in one lump sum directly to the winner upon verification. Typically, the drawing date is around the 30th or the 31st of the month.
The organization behind the web site that provides the scholarship funds is on a mission to help as many minority and female students as possible by offsetting their disadvantaged situation. A recent USA Today article revealed that minority enrollment in college lags disproportionately because of the lack of resources and financial aid being made available.
For more details, visit:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Notre Dame Has First Black Valedictorian

Gary, Indiana native will make history next month as the first black valedictorian from the University of Notre Dame.

Katie Washington, 21, is a biology major and minor in Catholic social teaching with a 4.0 GPA.
“I am humbled,” said Washington to the Northwest Indiana Times. "I am in a mode of gratitude and thanksgiving right now.”

University officials said they couldn’t recall ever having a black valedictorian, and don’t keep record of their race.

Katie Washington, first black valedictorian at...
The valedictorian has been accepted to five schools, including Harvard, but she plans to pursue a joint M.D./Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University, according to

"Katie works so hard," Washington’s mother Jean Tomlin said. "I told her when she went to Notre Dame, 'You are representing your family, your church and the city of Gary. Make us proud.'"

She has definitely made her family proud and is following in their footsteps. Her father is a doctor, her mother and sister are nurses, one brother is completing his residency and another brother who works for British Petroleum.

"I have had so much support, people who really wanted to see that I reached my full potential,” Washington told “They all had my best interest at heart."

Washington will address the class of 2010 at commencement on May 16.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Steve Harvey Foundation

Steve Harvey once known as simply a comedic talent, Steve Harvey has broken the mold, reinvented himself and is widely known for his strong family values, savvy business sense and genuine passion for helping others. Beginning his philanthropic endeavors in Los Angeles, California in the year 2000, Mr. Harvey has helped countless individuals pursue their career and educational dreams. From book drives and technology upgrades in the Los Angeles Unified School District, to donating more than $35,000 to underserved school children in Jamaica, Steve Harvey has proven himself to be a tireless servant of his community.

Steve Harvey believes that “dreaming is more important than anything.” As a partner with Walt Disney World, Mr. Harvey created the Annual Disney Dreamers Academy in 2007. This weekend event brings 100 gifted and talented young people from across the country to Disney World in Orlando, Florida where they are inspired and exposed to a number of job skills and career opportunities. Harvey’s goal over the course of the weekend is teach young achievers to become overachievers by opening their minds to the power of dreaming.
Expanding his philanthropic efforts in 2009, he launched The Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men; a 4 day development camp for boys from homes headed by single mothers. This weekend retreat serves as true “Manhood Experience” for these young men. Harvey wants these boys to see beyond their current circumstances and give them tools to navigate through this world as men. Steve Harvey knows the power of men teaching other men and makes it his mission to impart his wisdom to save a generation of forgotten young boys.

Marjorie Harvey, wife of comedian Steve Harvey, has long been an advocate for children’s education, health and welfare worldwide.  Not one to merely rest on the laurels of her famous spouse, Mrs. Harvey began the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation which funds programs, nationally and internationally, that are committed to providing educational and healthcare assistance to children and families.  Always diligent in her commitment to those in need Mrs. Harvey spearheaded a holiday give to over 1,200 families across the country.  Understanding the important role of education in sustaining a family’s future, Mrs. Harvey awarded two single mothers with full scholarships to Ashworth University. These women chose a degree program of their choice and received Dell laptops computer and DSL service for one year to assist them in their studies.

Marjorie Harvey is an active member on the Fundraising committee for the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Chastain Horse Park.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Harlem Childrens Zone

Harlem Children's Zone, Inc. has experienced incredible growth - from the number of children we serve to the breadth of our services. But one thing has stayed the same: the agency's "whatever it takes" attitude when it comes to helping children to succeed.

The organization began 1970 as Rheedlen, working with young children and their families as the city's first truancy-prevention program.

Through the 1980s and 1990s, the crack epidemic tore through Harlem; open-air drug markets flourished while families disintegrated. While many inside and outside Harlem gave up hope, HCZ's staff believed that new approaches were necessary.

In 1991, the agency was among the first in the city to open a Beacon center. Our Countee Cullen Community Center turned a public school that used to shut its door at the end of the school day into a community center offering a range of services and activities on nights, weekends and summers.

In the 1990s, to help keep local schools safe, the Peacemakers program began placing AmeriCorps participants in classrooms. These young people were a welcome presence assisting teachers during the school day and then running programs after school.

In the early 1990s, HCZ ran a pilot project that brought a range of support services to a single block. The idea was to address all the problems that poor families were facing: from crumbling apartments to failing schools, from violent crime to chronic health problems.

HCZ created a 10-year business plan, then to ensure its best-practice programs were operating as planned, HCZ was in the vanguard of nonprofits that began carefully evaluating and tracking the results of their work. Those evaluation results enabled staff to see if programs were achieving their objectives and to take corrective actions if they were not.

In 1997, the agency began a network of programs for a 24-block area: the Harlem Children's Zone Project. In 2007, the Zone Project grew to almost 100 blocks. Today the Children's Zone® serves more than 8,000 children and 6,000 adults. Overall, the organization serves more than 10,000 children and more than 7,400 adults.  The FY 2010 budget for the agency overall is over $75 million.

Over the years, the agency introduced several ground-breaking efforts: in 2000, The Baby College® parenting workshops; in 2001, the Harlem Gems® pre-school program; also in 2001, the HCZ Asthma Initiative, which teaches families to better manage the disease; in 2004, the Promise Academy, a high-quality public charter school; and in 2006, an obesity program to help children stay healthy.
Under the visionary leadership of its President and CEO, Geoffrey Canada, HCZ continues to offer innovative, efficiently run programs that are aimed at doing nothing less than breaking the cycle of generational poverty for the thousands of children and families it serves.

All HCZ programs are offered free to the children and families of Harlem, which is made possible by donations from people like yourself. To help us continue our work, please click here.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kina Klothing

Kina Story

We chose “Kina,” a Kiswahili word meaning “depth” to represent what we want to portray in our designs. With every piece we attempt to stimulate a curiosity on the viewer while saying something positive about the person wearing the tee.
Kina Klothing is Pan Afrikan, Art, Bongo Flava, Afro Beat, Taarab, Fashion, Poetry, Sankofa, Jazz, Pop-Culture, Fela Kuti , 60s, 70s, 80s Afrika, HipHop, Illustration, Cassette tapes, Street, Soul, Vinyl records, Politics, Animation, Disco, Electronic, basketball, fun, Zouk, Bolingo, Photography, Soccer, Play, CDs, mp3s, Graphic Design…everyday people.

The Kollektion:

Uhuru Street combines street insight and “uhuru” (freedom) a concept that is central to our creative aspiration. It is the first of a series named after various streets in Tanzania.
This collection almost exclusively features work inspired by popular culture and visual language of Tanzania, our homeland, and the place we feel most free.
Next collection, Samora Ave.