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How Daagye Hendricks Serves Community, City Schools and UAB

Daagye Hendricks is not one to remain stationary. The Birmingham Board of Education member, businesswoman and mom of a 16-year-old, had an opportunity to become a part of the Living Donor Navigator Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)—and she didn’t hesitate to join.THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES — 

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Daagye Hendricks (Photo by: birminghamtimes.com)

By Ameera Steward

Daagye Hendricks is not one to remain stationary. The Birmingham Board of Education member, businesswoman and mom of a 16-year-old, had an opportunity to become a part of the Living Donor Navigator Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)—and she didn’t hesitate to join.

Hendricks wanted to not only try something different but also do something she believes in: “Diversify yourself, stay fresh, and make sure you sharpen your toolbox and your skill set.”

“The opportunity to create a [Living Donor Navigator] program or be a part of that was, of course, exciting. More importantly, … I knew I could make a difference, and that is gratifying,” she said.

More than 110,000 people in the United States are on waiting lists to receive life saving organs, and nearly 100,000 of those are awaiting a kidney. The Living Donor Navigator Program, founded in 2017, works with both recipients and donors to identify needs and guide each through the process, from transplantation to post-transplant. Hendricks is one of two patient navigators in the program.

“This body of work has never existed,” she said. “It is evolving every day as we continuously improve our standards driven by our patient outcomes.”

The initial goal was to have two transplants from the first set of classes in the first year—they ended up with more than 20.

Outreach

Because of the program’s importance, Hendricks often works weekends: “On a Saturday, even.”

“I sometimes hate losing that time away from my family, but it is always a joy to be able to help someone along the way. The benefits we have been able to receive since this program started are very gratifying, to be able to reduce somebody’s wait time for a kidney transplant to six months to a year from four to 10 years is huge,” said Hendricks.

Her duties include educational outreach, letting people know how easy it is to donate a kidney and talking about the needs for kidney donation. She also works with people who have signed up for her class and helps them navigate the process of identifying and attracting live donors. The class is designed primarily for family members of the patient, she said.

“It is hard enough to go through dialysis and fight the emotional struggles that go along with that to stay healthy enough to get transplanted,” Hendricks said. “Our goal is to teach the family members—the wife, the husband, the coworker, the church member—how to stand up and be an advocate for the other person’s care. Let us help them stay healthy enough to get transplanted. Let me teach you how to do the outreach to help save your friend or your family member’s life.”

Learning the Business

Public service is part of Hendricks’s DNA.

“That is inherently who I am,” she said. “The best part of me and my day is public service. I want to help someone else. I want to make a difference. I want to be impactful. I want to make someone else’s day or way easier for them. That is gratifying. That is why I serve.”

Hendricks, 44, learned to help others growing up with her family in Birmingham. She watched her grandfather run his restaurant, Bud’s Deli, on Finley Boulevard in North Birmingham’s Acipco neighborhood. Her grandfather’s brothers and sisters owned the Hendricks Brothers restaurant on the same block. One of her grandmothers owned a beauty shop and her other grandmother helped operate the deli business. Her parents, Elias and Gaynell Hendricks, own the Wee Care Academy day care center.

“I really didn’t know anything different,” said Hendricks. “When I was a little girl, my grandfather owned a delicatessen. … When I was about 4 or 5, I learned how to count money because he had me working his cash register. I was enthralled by that process of actually counting money and … the process of selling those goods—sandwiches, hot dogs, sodas. … That’s what really attracted me to doing business.”

Hendricks, currently in her second term as a board member, attended pre-kindergarten through fourth grade in New Jersey at Oak Knoll, a Montessori school. When the family moved to Birmingham, she went to Cherokee Bend and St. Paul’s elementary schools. She attended Altamont School from sixth through ninth grades and Homewood High School in her sophomore year, and she graduated from Shades Valley High School.

“I went to three different high schools, and that’s part of the reason why I got on the [Birmingham] School Board,” she said. “I have a very diverse academic background, and I wish I could see those types of advancements happen in public education, as well.”

After high school, Hendricks enrolled at Clark Atlanta University, thinking she was going to major in marketing, but she really wanted to be a social worker. Eventually, she changed her major to finance.

“I come from a family of entrepreneurs,” she said.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in finance, Hendricks later attended the University of Alabama to obtain an Executive Master of Business Administration degree; she has one more class to finish before graduating.

Around 2001, she moved to the Norwood community and embarked on another chapter in her life of service when she joined other residents to generate buzz, to create “… excitement about Norwood and get people interested in wanting to relocate … [to the neighborhood],” she said.

Norwood had two schools, Norwood Elementary School and Kirby Middle School, and both closed: “We realized over the years the impact that made in the neighborhood,” she said.

Hendricks worked to reopen one of those schools, and that gave her insight about the needs of her community.

“I was able to go into the [school board] position knowing some of the critical needs of my district,” she said.

Elected to School Board

In 2013, Hendricks was elected to the Birmingham Board of Education representing District 4; she was re-elected in 2017.

“The state took over the leadership [of the school system], and that’s what motivated me to run. …  I really wanted to make a difference right where I am for my child and for all the students,” said Hendricks, whose son is a student at Ramsay High School and was attending Phillips Academy when she decided run for the school board.

Hendricks said Birmingham City Schools are headed in the right direction and have their finances in better order than when she first joined the board. Her district has five schools—Hayes K-8, Hudson K-8, Inglenook School, Norwood Elementary School, and Woodlawn High School—that serve 19 neighborhoods.

“Not only are the students within those schools my customers, but the neighborhood, the parents, the community are, too,” she said, explaining that board members don’t get assistants, so she has to answer each phone call.

“There’s an expectation to be available and accessible to the community. That is critical and necessary.”

“Board members have the responsibility of not only hiring, firing, and governing the superintendent but also being public servants in our communities and being stakeholders with our parents and our corporate partners.”

Mentoring

In addition to serving on the school board, Hendricks serves as a mentor—something she began long before being elected. She meets many of her students while they are in high school and stays with them through college.

“That’s just a part of me because I know the struggles academically,” Hendricks said. “I was not the smartest student in class. I had to work hard. I had to struggle sometimes. When I see my students … transitioning into that position, I do anything I can to help.”

Hendricks’s style of help includes scholarships, subsidies, “and just being there.”

“[When they say], ‘Hey, look, it’s getting hard out here, I don’t know if I’m going to make it through next semester.’ [I’m there] being that support, saying, ‘Hey, you can keep doing it,’ or aligning resources.”

Opportunity to Succeed

Oftentimes, Hendricks believes, the only thing separating children in terms of success is the opportunity to succeed.

“If you can bridge resources, oftentimes our children will reach up and grab them,” she said. “They just don’t know where to go. … I like to connect those dots, so we can make these things easier and work together to transform the community.”

Hendricks’s love of working with students began at her family’s Wee Care Academy, where she served as vice president of operations from 1999 to 2005 before taking a position at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport; she returned to the day care from 2013 to 2017.

“Working with children keeps you energized,” she said. “It makes you keep changing your perspective. It makes you broaden your opinions. Our students, our children are the future. If you want to know where you’re going, you need to talk to the folks that are going there with you. I think we often ignore or overlook the words of children. I interact better with children.”

Hendricks has worked with Wee Care in different capacities since her college years.

“That made me not only realize how important it is to listen to children … but also realize the importance of service … [and] education,” she said. “Our children who graduated through Wee Care in the past 30 years … probably have almost 98 or 99 percent college-[attendance] rate. … Seeing that in [our] business, I feel compelled to try to translate that into public education.”

This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times

Afro

Baltimore Black Engineers Celebrate 30 Years

THE AFRO — The chapter had a black tie gala fundraiser to support for their work to support collegiate and pre-collegiate students, as well as professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The event included an awards ceremony, which honored individuals and organizations recognizing outstanding achievement in various areas in support of the NSBE-BMAC mission.

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(L to R: Mrs. Steffanie B. Easter, Director, Navy Staff, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations; Mrs. Earnestine Baker, Executive Director – Emerita Meyerhoff Scholars Program, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Legacy Achievement Award Honoree; Dr. Eugene M. DeLoatch, Dean Emeritus Morgan State University School of Engineering, Legacy Achievement Award Honoree; Dr. James E. West, Inventor, Professor, Johns Hopkins University, Legacy Achievement Award Honoree; Mr. William S. Redmond, III, President, NSBEBMAC) (Courtesy Photo)
By AFRO Staff

On June 22, nearly 200 people gathered at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture, in downtown Baltimore to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the National Society of Black Engineers Baltimore Metropolitan Area Chapter (NSBE-BMAC).

The chapter had a black tie gala fundraiser to support for their work to support collegiate and pre-collegiate students, as well as professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The event included an awards ceremony, which honored individuals and organizations recognizing outstanding achievement in various areas in support of the NSBE-BMAC mission.

Steffanie B. Easter, director of Navy Staff for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, was the keynote speaker.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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Afro

Howard Leads HBCU Awards

THE AFRO — Howard University is leading with 12 finalist nominations in the 2019 HBCU Awards.  Presented by HBCU Digest, the HBCU Awards are the first and only national awards ceremony honoring individual and institutional achievements at history Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

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Howard University led with 12 finalist nominations for the 2019 HBCU Awards presented by the {HBCU Digest}, including President Wayne A.I. Frederick, pictured in the suit, who was nominated for Best Male President. (Courtesy Photo)

By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]

Howard University is leading with 12 finalist nominations in the 2019 HBCU Awards.  Presented by HBCU Digest, the HBCU Awards are the first and only national awards ceremony honoring individual and institutional achievements at history Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Known as “The Mecca,” or “Black Ivy” some of Howar’s nominations include College of the Year, Male President of the Year, Best Student Government Association (SGA) and Best Board of Trustees.

“It is fitting for Howard University to lead this year’s sterling panel of nominees,” said HBCU Digest Founding Editor Jarrett Carter according to a press release.  “They had an extraordinary academic year highlighted with several individual and collective accomplishments that represented the best of America’s flagship historically black institution, and the spirit of the HBCU mission at large. The Howard community and the District of Columbia should take great pride in HU’s work this year.”

All winners are selected by a panel of previous winners, journalists, HBCU executives, students and alumni.

President Wayne A.I. Frederick, who is nominated for Best Male President of the Year, weighed in on the accomplishments.

“It is an honor to receive 12 nominations in the 2019 HBCU Awards,” he said.  “HBCUs produce many of the best and brightest scholars and these nominations reflect the hard work of our students, faculty, staff and alumni to embody Howard University’s mission of Truth and Service.”

Howard’s full nominations include:

Best Research Center– Howard University Data Science and Cybersecurity Center

Best Business Program – Howard University School of Business

Best Social Work Program – Howard University School of Social Work

Best Student Newspaper – The Hilltop

Best SGA– Howard University Student Association

Female Student of the Year – Jaylin Paschal, immediate past editor of The Hilltop

Female Faculty of the Year – Keneshia Grant, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science

Alumna of the Year – Ezinne Kwubiri, H&M head of Inclusion and Diversity, North America

Alumnus of the Year – Charles D. King, MACRO founder and CEO

Male President of the Year – Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA

Board of Trustees of the Year – Howard University Board of Trustees

HBCU of the Year – Howard University

The actual awards ceremony will be held on Friday, August 2 at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in downtown Baltimore.

This article originally appeared in The Afro

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Education

Midwest Bible College Graduation 2019

MILWAUKEE TIMES WEEKLY — Midwest Bible College (MBC) celebrated another wonderful school year at its 16th graduation on Friday, June 7, 2019. Forty-five students received their Associates, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Biblical Studies. Three of these students completed their studies online. Six additional students will receive their degrees at a special ceremony in Uganda, Africa at the end of June. With the addition of this year’s graduates, a total of 578 students have earned a degree or certificate from Midwest Bible College since 2003.

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Midwest Bible College 2019 Grads (Courtesy of Photos Limited)

By The Milwaukee Times Weekly

Midwest Bible College (MBC) celebrated another wonderful school year at its 16th graduation on Friday, June 7, 2019. Forty-five students received their Associates, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Biblical Studies. Three of these students completed their studies online. Six additional students will receive their degrees at a special ceremony in Uganda, Africa at the end of June. With the addition of this year’s graduates, a total of 578 students have earned a degree or certificate from Midwest Bible College since 2003.

The curriculum taught at MBC is Bible based and developed by the college. Students find it to be a unique, challenging and an intense study of the Bible. Despite the hard work, graduates highly value their time as students. They describe their year at MBC as “encouraging”, “amazing”, “transformative” and “insightful”. Through their studies at MBC, each student not only gains a deeper understanding of the Bible, but is also equipped with the ability to apply it to their daily lives.

Midwest Bible College seeks to build the Kingdom of God by supporting local pastors and their ministries. Forty-two churches from across southeastern Wisconsin were represented in this year’s student body and many pastors joined in celebrating with their graduates. Professor Nicole Bowen, M.A., addressed the pastors in attendance and stated that “Midwest Bible College is here to help you achieve the vision and the goal that God has set before you in your ministry. Our vision is to train students to go back to their churches and to be more effective and to help and to assist you and support you and to be an armor bearer for the Kingdom of God.”

Dr. Dorothy Huston, founder and CEO of Technology Management Training Group, from Huntsville, AL, was the keynote speaker. Dr. Huston reminded the students that success is a “do-it-yourself ” project and challenged them to find a way to use what they have learned to change the world. She encouraged them not to be stopped by any roadblock they may face but to follow the path God has given them. Dr. Huston reminded her audience to do their best even when no one is looking and to depend on God. “Trusting in Him is a win-win partnership,” she stated.

Every born again believer is called by God to make a difference and to be a minister and representative of Jesus. MBC prepares students to engage in ministry whether full time as pastors and leaders in their communities, or part time as lay leaders in their church or individual representations of Jesus in their workplaces. MBC offers a flexible schedule of classes. Students have the choice to enroll in either weekly, morning or night classes. Those unable to attend weekly classes may enroll in online classes and work at their own pace.

Midwest Bible College invites you to take the next step in your understanding of the Bible. For more information, contact Midwest Bible College at 414-546- 1248 or visit www.midwestbiblecollege.org. Midwest Bible College is fully accredited through the Association of Independent Christian Colleges and Seminaries and offers Associates, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Biblical Studies. Come and learn how you can make a difference in Milwaukee and the rest of the world.

This article originally appeared in the Milwaukee Times Weekly.

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Defender News Network

With conflicting budget estimates, will Texas teachers get the pay raises they anticipated?

DEFENDER NEWS NETWORK — When state lawmakers passed their landmark $11.6 billion school finance law in late May, school employees were eager to see how mandatory raises would affect their paychecks. A month later, they’re scratching their heads, struggling to decipher complicated changes and conflicting financial estimates that might not net teachers as much money as they expected.

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Photo by: Nappy | Pexels.com

By Defender News Service

When state lawmakers passed their landmark $11.6 billion school finance law in late May, school employees were eager to see how mandatory raises would affect their paychecks.

A month later, they’re scratching their heads, struggling to decipher complicated changes and conflicting financial estimates that might not net teachers as much money as they expected.

Before lawmakers voted nearly unanimously to approve House Bill 3, which drastically overhauled Texas’ outdated school funding system, they received estimates from the state on how much additional money each of their school districts would likely receive over the next two years. But the estimates came with a warning: They could change significantly once the calculations were performed using local data.

Ahead of the upcoming school year, districts are now redoing those calculations themselves — and some are coming up short. That could pose a problem for teachers, nurses, counselors and librarians, since under HB 3, school districts are supposed to use a portion of the new money on those employees’ raises and benefits. (School boards must approve their budgets by either a June 30 or an Aug. 31 deadline.)

Georgetown ISD, for example, is projecting $5.9 million in new money in the upcoming school year, much less than the $10.3 million state estimate. And it will shell out about $9 million in recapture payments, which the state takes from wealthier districts to subsidize poorer ones — not the $3.5 million the state estimated in May.

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, a large suburban district in the Houston area, should’ve expected $30 million more in the upcoming school year, according to the state estimates. But school board members approved a budget in late June that projected just $14 million more, according to Karen Smith, the district’s chief financial officer.

To remain competitive as employers, both districts are going beyond the state’s requirement to use 30% of the new money to increase salaries and benefits. Georgetown ISD is including $3,000 raises for teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses with more than five years of experience. Cypress-Fairbanks ISD approved a budget millions of dollars in the red that includes $25.4 million in raises for classroom teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses and $10.8 million in raises for all other employees.

Teacher pay raises quickly became a bipartisan rallying cry during the 2019 legislative session that finished up in May. But instead of the statewide $5,000 raise many teachers advocated for from the get-go, lawmakers approved a set of guidelines for salary bumps that would end up leaving the dollar amounts largely up to district leaders.

There is not yet an official statewide summary on what compensation packages look like across school districts, but eventually districts will be required to report that information to the Legislature. Meanwhile, the state has been providing guidance on how to interpret the new law through videos and PowerPoint presentations.

Without an across-the-board pay raise mandate from the state, teachers and other school employees have been looking left and right at neighboring school districts to judge how they’re going to fare. Some report having heard nothing from their school districts so far this summer, as they anxiously monitor the news from across the state.

Sunnyvale ISD Superintendent Doug Williams found that the state’s calculation for how much more his tiny school district would receive was pretty accurate: just under $600,000. But school districts in the vicinity, which include large, urban Dallas ISD, are getting millions more, meaning they’ll be required to offer bigger raises.

To stay competitive, Sunnyvale ISD’s school board approved larger pay raises than required by law, ranging from $1,800 for beginning teachers to $2,700 for the most experienced. “We have been blessed to be able to attract and retain great teachers,” Williams said. “We just want to make sure we are able to continue.”

In some school districts, local teachers’ unions and associations are butting heads with administrators as they advocate for higher raises and larger employer contributions to health insurance. After adopting a budget with 5% raises, Laredo ISD’s officials told frustrated teachers they are waiting for more guidance from the state before they consider raising salaries further.

In Houston ISD, the teachers union successfully threatened a no-confidence vote against the superintendent if trustees didn’t pass a budget with pay raises by later this month, arguing the delay would make them less competitive for hiring. After a contentious meeting, the board ultimately approved a deficit budget containing raises of 3.5% to 8%, depending on school employees’ experience levels. The budget also increased the minimum wage for school employees by $2 an hour.

For third grade writing teacher Huyenchau Vu, who watched the Legislature’s initial proposal for $5,000 raises dissolve, a 3.5% raise means a boost of less than $2,000 a year and less than $100 per paycheck. “It goes back into paying for everything, not necessarily into a savings account,” said Vu, who just finished teaching summer school at Houston ISD and will start her third year teaching in August.

She and her colleagues have been taking notes about the higher starting salaries and raises for Houston-area districts such as Aldine ISD and Alief ISD, but not necessarily because they’re trying to jump ship. While Vu would appreciate more money, she is also worried about the sustainability of the Legislature’s funding increase and is glad Houston ISD appears to be more “realistic” in its budgeting decisions than its neighbors.

“They’re paying their teachers a lot more knowing it’s just over the next two years that we’re receiving money from the state of Texas to put into these teacher salaries,” she said. “After that, no one’s sure what’s going to happen.”

This article originally appeared in the Defender News Network

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Crime

LA School Board Votes to End Random Searches

LOS ANGELES SENTINEL — The nation’s second-largest school moved Tuesday to end random metal-detector searches of students at secondary schools, a daily procedure that critics called ineffective, intrusive and offensive. The board of the Los Angeles Unified School District directed Superintendent Austin Beutner to develop an alternative plan for school safety that eliminates the use of random searches by July 2020.

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By The Los Angeles Sentinel

The nation’s second-largest school moved Tuesday to end random metal-detector searches of students at secondary schools, a daily procedure that critics called ineffective, intrusive and offensive.

The board of the Los Angeles Unified School District directed Superintendent Austin Beutner to develop an alternative plan for school safety that eliminates the use of random searches by July 2020.

“Administrative random searches are incredibly invasive, dehumanizing and communicate to students that they are viewed not as promising minds but as criminals,” board member Tyler Okeke said.

The daily searches were instituted in 1993 in the wake of several mass shootings at schools around the country and a perceived increase in violence involving firearms and other weapons on campuses.

They involved random students being checked with hand-held metal detector wands.

Critics, however, said the searches weren’t really random but disproportionately targeted blacks and other minorities. Dozens of speakers opposed the searches at the board meeting.

“You don’t have to people feel like criminals in order to keep our schools safe,” said David Turner of the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition. “Our young people need love, our young people need protection, they do not need to be treated as if they are the problem.”

Some board members dissented.

“A fair, nondiscriminatory, and respectful wanding program provides increased safety for students and staff,” Scott M. Schmerelson said. “It may not be the perfect tool, but until a reasonable and effective alternative is proposed, I sincerely believe that random wanding serves as a deterrent for students who may consider bringing a weapon to school.”

A coalition called Students Not Suspects issued a report last year that concluded the random searches didn’t turn up any guns and only a tiny fraction of them produced any weapons at all. The report said the searches also pulled students out of class and cost the district more than $1 million a year.

The school district has more than 730,000 students and more than 1,000 schools.

This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Sentinel

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African American News & Issues

Helping Kids Through Education

AFRICAN AMERICAN NEWS & ISSUES — Born and raised in the Acres Homes community, Ms. Willie Elaine Hubbard Brooks wanted a way to give back to where she grew up. Inspired by her mother’s community activism and outstanding leadership in the Acres Homes community, Brooks founded the BenCheri’ Educational Center. It was her mother who encouraged her to become an entrepreneur, as she instilled in her the importance of helping the community and those in it.

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BenCheri’ Educational Center

By: Chelsea Davis-Bibb

HOUSTON – Born and raised in the Acres Homes community, Ms. Willie Elaine Hubbard Brooks wanted a way to give back to where she grew up. Inspired by her mother’s community activism and outstanding leadership in the Acres Homes community, Brooks founded the BenCheri’ Educational Center. It was her mother who encouraged her to become an entrepreneur, as she instilled in her the importance of helping the community and those in it.

After spending time subbing, tutoring and mentoring students in the local school districts, Brooks felt the desire pronging her even stronger to give back to the community. The best way she knew how was through education.

Consequently, Bencheri Educational Center was formed. The unique part about the center is that its’ named derived from her children’s names’, Benjamin and Sheree Brooks.

Bencheri Educational Center’s mission is, “to narrow the gap of illiteracy in the community and surrounding areas.” The center tutors students from Pre-K all the way thru college.

Bencheri provides academic coursework in math, reading, STEM classes, debate, public speaking and writing classes. They also teach art, health education, playwriting classes and manufacturing classes that will lead to a career pathway for students to attend a community college or university.

The center also provides classes that are focused on robotics, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. The beautiful part about this center is that their curriculum is designed for each student based on their individual needs.

The BenCheri’ Center strives to help as many kids as possible. They are not only teaching them educational skills, but skills that will help them when they enter the real world. Brooks says, “We are trying to make sure these kids not just get a job, but a career.”

Furthermore, she stated, “Our students will get the best skills, training, mentorship and will be accountable for mak-ing their community sustainable.”

If you are interested in learning more about the BenCheri’ Educational Center, you can visit their website at http://bencheri-educationalcenter.org/ or call (713) 598-1646 for more information.

This article originally appeared in the African American News & Issues

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