Saturday, February 21, 2015

Students Give Their Views on Social Issues for Project ENRICH Black History Month

Bro. Willie Hines, Project ENRICH Chairman, speaks
For young people, Black History Month is a time to read about and listen to stories highlighting the contributions of African Americans throughout our nation's history. Quite simply, it is a time to listen and learn. But the students who participate in Gamma Pi's Project ENRICH program experienced a different kind of Black History Month observance this year. This time, they were the voices of Black History Month, as they provided their views on social issues and talked about the challenges they face in a society that is still struggling with diversity and cultural problems.

During the February 14 program at Bowie State University's Thurgood Marshall Library, more than 20 students from Project ENRICH engaged in a public exchange of ideas and information about various hot button topics before a crowded auditorium of parents, friends and Gamma Pi chapter members. Divided into three panels, they took turns articulating their views on such issues as the black male image, the black female image, popular culture, careers, college life, their goals and dreams, how they navigate their daily environments, identifying the influences in their lives and their generation as a whole, black-on-black crime, police-community relations and the last panel dealt with critical thinking. The question posed to the panel was "Are we teaching our children how to think critically or are we teaching them what to think?"

"I think the energy and the passion we are getting from our young people is very powerful...The future leaders of tomorrow are right here.So the best way to engage our young people is to hear from them to see what they see as the best solutions to solve some of their problems," said Brother Willie Hines, chairman of Project ENRICH. He conceived this year's approach to Black History Month as a way to get the youth to start visualizing their futures.

Parents and students take in the information 
At the end of the panel session,s individual students came forward and shared with the group developments in college acceptance, selections, scholarships and any other academic and scholastic exploits. It was encouraging to see the many opportunities Project ENRICH students are receiving.

Project ENRICH focuses on encouraging and preparing youth for college and productive lives as adults through monthly Saturday sessions at Bowie State, beginning in the 9th grade and ending with high school graduation. Students learn study skills, what to expect in college and what courses to take to prepare for college. Along with their parents, they get financial aid and scholarship information as well as insight on the college application and selection process. About 80 students are enrolled this year.

The Black History month panels were broadcast live on Gamma Pi chapter's Ustream TV channel. The archived broadcast can be viewed at:  

For more information,visit Project ENRICH on the web at: or