June 8, 2015 – When the U.S. Department of Education became aware of the needs of the hurting youth in Ferguson, Missouri, they contacted Antonio Boyd, HOPE worldwide’s Vice President of Community Services. In response, HOPE worldwide, along with several of our partners, facilitated a two-day training session of cross-sectional community leaders. Last week our partners met together to make a difference in the Ferguson community and beyond.
Finding solutions togetherThe first day of meetings held in Norfolk, Virginia consisted of an impassioned roundtable discussion that included the Norfolk Chief of Police, Make a Difference 2020, the Boys and Girls Club of Norfolk, representatives from three colleges (Hampton University, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University), several community leaders from the Norfolk Redevelopment Housing Authority and Norfolk Public Schools, and leaders from the Ferguson-Florissant School District. The leader discussed and addressed the pressing community issues of poverty, education, technology, law enforcement, race, parenting, housing, transportation and community relations. Attendees toured the public housing neighborhoods and the newly created school, Academy for Discovery at Lakewood.
From left to right: Kelly Baldwin HOPE worldwide, the HOPE worldwide Community Service Fellows, Lou Zammett and Stu Armstrong of Make A Difference 2020, LTC Johnson from West Point, Patrice Benson from Army Research Lab and the Ferguson-Florissant Leadership Team
Collaboration yields creative learning opportunities
The following day, Will Archer, evangelist of the Potomac Valley Church, and the young staff of HOPE worldwide Community Service Fellows joined the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, USMA West Point and the United States Army Research Laboratory for a West Point Mobile STEM workshop.
As a result of this tremendous collaborative effort, the United States Army Research Lab agreed to provide the Ferguson-Florissant School District with robotics kits to replicate the STEM effort in their district and provide equitable learning to underserved youth. The four-person team from Ferguson, which included Superintendent Joe Davis, returned home eager to employ elements of both the STEM education and HOPE worldwide’s SPARK Academy youth resiliency curriculum, to the benefit of their students.
“We are approaching the one-year anniversary of Mike Brown’s death,” said Ferguson-Florissant School District Executive Director of Elementary Education, Dr. Adrienne Bland. “One thing we know is that our students still want to talk about it.”
|LTC Anthony Johnson, Director of the Center for Leadership and Diversity in STEM at USMA West Point looks on as HOPE worldwide Community Service Fellows and leaders from the Ferguson-Florissant School District participate in a West Point Mobile STEM workshop.|
A special note of thanks
“My heart is so full right now,” said Antonio Boyd, HOPE worldwide Vice President. “I hope we understand the significance of this moment. Mike Brown died in the streets of Ferguson. The students of Ferguson needed help so that hopefully there will be no more Mike Browns. The U.S. Department of Education called HOPE worldwide to help, and our team stepped up!”
Special thanks to: Jerryl Bennett from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Lou Zammett from Make a Difference 2020; Dr. Vallen Emery from the United States Army Research Lab; Will Archer from the Potomac Valley Church and Kelly Baldwin, National Director of Youth Programs at HOPE worldwide, for making this possible.