Monday, April 20, 2015

Meet Jasmine: She Graduated High School With 3 College Degrees, Has Won Civic Award

The town of Flint, Michigan is home to an amazing young woman. At just 19 years of age Jasmine Cofield has accomplished more than many do in an entire lifetime. She graduated from high school last year but before she was handed her diploma she already had three college degrees under her belt. She is currently a senior in Central Michigan University. This year she was named the 2015 Newman Civic Fellow.

The award is handed out to college students that demonstrate empathy for others. They show that they are capable of finding real-world solutions to problems that affect the communities around them and make sure that they help the community by implementing those solutions. This year Cofield will be traveling with Global Bridges to Honduras to help volunteer in clinics that provide much needed services to the communities that are struggling with health issues. She has been all over the country with a program called the Alternative Break program which is sponsored by the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center. With this group Cofield has gone to help rebuild homes that were destroyed in the South by Hurricane Katrina. She has helped in facilities that treat HIV/AIDS patients in Atlanta by helping to restore the facilities to a more modern place.

While attending Mott Middle College, which is where she completed all of her high school courses, Cofield also studied at Mott Community College. The Middle College is a transitional program that integrates high school classes and college classes. The students end up graduating from the Middle College with a high school diploma and 15 college credits. Cofield ended up with three Associate degrees from Mott Community College before she even got her diploma. She kept a 4.0 average all through college and ended high school with a 3.97 GPA. She did so well in her schooling that she earned enough money in scholarships to cover her Bachelor’s degree studies at Central Michigan University. She is studying to become a Physician’s Assistant in Neuroscience.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Compton's Mayor Aja Brown Promises 'the Best Is Yet to Come'

Inside a new community center in Compton, California, music can be heard. It’s the very first song played at a new after-school program designed to keep children safe and sound in the city that’s come to be associated with gangs and violence.

But Compton is undergoing a change.

Juan Ruiz, an instructor, said he developed the program with the help of the city’s mayor, Aja Brown.

Now, the 32-year-old Brown, a Democrat, has injected more than just music into the city since she was elected in 2013.

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Brown’s own grandmother was murdered in a home invasion in the city before Brown was born.

“I was able to see the impact it had on my entire family and especially my mother,” she said.

After she graduated from the University of Southern California with honors, Brown worked behind the scenes in urban planning for 10 years before being elected as mayor in 2012. She beat her opponents -- the incumbent and a former mayor -- handily, and hit the ground running.

In city development meetings, Brown said, she’s usually the only woman.

Her greatest lesson comes from her own mother, who taught her to “be committed and to make sacrifices and ... put something in front of you, do something bigger than yourself,” she said.

Brown ended cronyism by making city fiscal business contract decisions and choices and invoices fully transparent and public. And that's not all.

“Our crime rate is down 25 percent," she said. "Our unemployment rate [is] down 5 percent, and we have nearly 1,000 new jobs coming into the community.”

Today, the sound of urban renewal -- jackhammers and construction -- can be heard throughout the city.

“We’re actually bringing major, major retail to the city of Compton, as we speak,” Brown said.

Ruiz credited Brown with the progress in the city.

“We are proud of our mayor,” he said, adding that Brown is loved and is changing lives.

“You can feel it,” he said.

Brown shares his enthusiasm.

“I’m proud of the work that we’ve been able to accomplish here, and I’m excited because I know that the best is yet to come,” she said.