NORTHEAST– As part of his national campaign to enpower minority children with a better education and enhanced quality of life, the Tavis Smiley Foundation held one of its six Education Summits last Saturday in Houston, at the Houston Community College Northeast main campus.
About 100 interested parents and others participated, with the all-day format including lectures, lunch, and workshops.
The summit was held in the new Northeast Learning Hub, a sparkling and spacious building. Attendance was constrained by the fact that several other educational activities, including the graduation ceremonies for HCC and UH, were being held simultaneously around the city.
Parents who attended heard from keynote speakers Vonda Paige, Executive Director of the Tavis Smiley Foundation, and Zafar Brooks, of Hyundai, one of the sponsoring companies of the Tavis Smiley Foundation and the Parent Education Summit. Brooks comments were on the history of the Tavis Smiley Foundation, and the goals of the “Too Important to Fail” movement. Brooks spoke in place of Smiley, who was unable to attend.
Attendees were able to hear two morning workshops, have lunch and socialize with the presenters, and then attend a Closing Session where speakers presented the ways to Empower the Parent, and achieve the goal of “Youth to Leaders”.
The summit entitled “Too Important To Fail” is meant to recognize the critical role parents play as their child’s “first teacher”. The summit is a grassroots parents’ engagement effort designed to inform parents about education initiatives and programs, family and school partnerships and school district resources available to them.
The goal of the program is to help parents make informed choices about what they can do to support their son or daughter’s educational development.
The summit sessions are selected to provide parents with information from experts and researchers on key learning challenges facing children.
Workshops in this summit included:
Parenting Matters, presented by Kimberly Johnson of Prevention Research Center
The ABC’s of College, presented by LaShawn Launza and Nicole Donaldson of the Princeton Review
Third Grade Learning, presented by Jae Simpson-Butler of Hemmenway Elementary School
Summer Brain Drain, presented by Cassandra Jones of Guidepost Education Solutions
Father Figures & Mentors, presented by Charles Savage of the Fifth Ward Enrichment Program
Teachers Count, presented by Toni Fisher-Monamodi of the Sisterhood Creations
What if Microsoft Were Hiring? presented by Camille Alleyne, the Brightest Star Foundation.
Participants were encouraged to continue their involvement after the workshops, through the interactive website at www.tooimportanttofail.com. Attendees should use this site to dialogue, network, share ideas and success stories as well as take advantage of the resource information available.
Tavis Smiley founded the Tavis Smiley Foundation in 1999 as a program to identify young people with great potential and then provide training to help them develop into leaders.
To date, more than 6,500 teens have participated. More than $500,000 in scholarships have been awarded to 200 students.