So Much Samsonite

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Similar to your everyday commute, flying to get to work has become the new normal for me. Some days I run into the airport with open arms and others I have to remember, I asked for this; I’m 30,000 feet up in the air, somewhere in-between home and are we there yet.

For my first trip of the year, I decided to create a photo blog to shed light on having a job that requires significant travel. Currently, I serve as the Director of Recruitment and Admissions at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. I search the country for new students each term but, primarily for the fall semester.

AND-WE-ARE-OFF

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140 Twitter Challenge: Nitosha Dawson

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Every year The H.O.P.E. Scholarship Initiative hosts the 140 Twitter Challenge and in the past we have awarded one scholarship annually; this year we were fortunate to award a second book scholarship through a partnership with Community One.  Community One is a non-profit organization that exposes at-risk youth to interesting careers.

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The 140 Twitter Challenge is a scholarship competition designed to meet students where they are — on social media. HOPE releases a question on Twitter, students respond in 140 characters or less and the best response is awarded a $140 scholarship. Nitosha Dawson was selected as the winner of our second 140 Twitter Challenge book scholarship.

Challenge Question: “How can you use your desired career path to make a difference in the world?”

The winning response: “I plan to use my degree and love for poetry to start a nonprofit after school program dedicated to literacy for minority kids.”

Nitosha Dawson is a junior at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, majoring in social work. Dawson is involved in Voices Poetry Group, Dream Defenders, and Student Social Work Association. In the near future, Nitosha plans to study abroad before graduating Suma Cum Laude.

A HopeDealer is any person with the intent to make the world a better place and that is what you are, Nitosha.

For more information, visit our website.

Give HOPE. Live HOPE.

140 Twitter Challenge: Amber Gibson

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AmberThe H.O.P.E. Scholarship Initiative is pleased to announce Amber Gibson as the winner of H.O.P.E.’s 3rd Annual 140 Twitter Challenge.

The 140 Twitter Challenge is a scholarship competition designed to meet students where they are — on social media. Students respond to a question provided by HOPE on Twitter (@hopescholarship) in 140 characters or less and the best response is awarded a $140 book scholarship.

For this challenge we posed the question, “Across the country, students are leading marches, sit-ins and protests. What role should students play in social justice movements?” Amber’s winning response was “We must figure out how we can use our individual disciplines to help further our communities and use our degree to empower.”

Amber is a graduate student at Howard University, majoring in school psychology. Amber’s extra-curricular activities include mentoring, volunteering and community development.

Currently, Amber is pursuing a PhD with the hopes of working with incarcerated youth and closing the achievement gap between students of color and their peers. She also aspires to help develop academic support in juvenile detention centers.

Amber’s skill-set and ambition are much needed in today’s society; you are a “HopeDealer”.

Visit our website for more information.

Give HOPE. Live HOPE.

The H.O.P.E. Blog has Moved

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Happy New Year H.O.P.E. Dealers!

We are pleased to announce that the H.O.P.E. blog has moved…home. The H.O.P.E. blog can now be found at http://www.thehopescholarship.org along with up to date information on H.O.P.E.’s calendar, scholarship application and opportunities for you to continue to support our efforts.

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In 2014 we are focusing on quality over quanity. The H.O.P.E. blog schedule has been changed to bimonthly. Every other Monday we will publish an article written by members of the H.O.P.E. dealer community, thought leaders, education leaders and members of the H.O.P.E. team.

We are slowly transferring the blog’s archives. Until this is complete continue to visit this location for your favorite past H.O.P.E. blog posts.

Thank you for your continued support!

-The H.O.P.E. Team

Meet Dillard University Student Nicole Tinson: HOPE’s 2013 Scholarship Winner

Tinson HOPE scholarship 11-2013 1My mother was very protective of my twin brother and I. To not be so, would have been reckless in South Central Los Angeles.

Growing up in my neighborhood came with familiar stereotypes: drug addicts on the street, gang graffiti on every surface and fights over insignificant things. My mother made sure we were so busy being nurtured at school and church or serving in the community that getting into the trouble that seemed unavoidable for so many of my friends was impossible for us.

At the age of 16, my older brother was killed in a drive-by-shooting. At that point, I could no longer ignore or pretend away the social problems of my community. It was then, that I decided that I would be and do more.

I applied and was accepted to Dillard University. Dillard has helped me understand black culture in a way that makes me proud of my heritage and confident in my ability to make good on my promise to improve help change the circumstances that plagued my neighborhood.

At Dillard, I have begun my journey to make social change as a student leader in the roles of Senior and Junior Class president and president of the Dillard University NAACP chapter. In these positions I have organized community service events for Hurricane Sandy, a series of city-wide community discussions on a range of topics including the 2012 presidential election, a discussion on the use of the “N word,” and events to help students improve their professionalism.

I am also Dillard’s financial learning ambassador where my responsibility and goal is to teach students and the New Orleans community about personal finance. I held the honor of being the keynote speaker for the 21st Annual Take Back the Night in New Orleans event which focused on domestic violence. I also organized a World’s AIDS day event, a topic that is critical to the African-American and African Diaspora communities.

Dr. Cornell West said, “You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people if you don’t serve the people”.

I’m committed to improving the socioeconomic circumstances and sociological perspective of African-Americans in the United States as well as other under-served communities through policy change. I believe the way to inspire and create hope for others is through action founded in love.

Thank you to The H.O.P.E. Scholarship Initiative for contributing to my education and inspiring me to continue to seize every opportunity presented to me.

Nicole Tinson
Dillard University
2013 HOPE Scholarship Winner

HIV and Young People: The Fight Continues

The reality is that too many young people in the United States are at risk of contracting HIV.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that:

  • An estimated 8,294 young persons were diagnosed with HIV infection in 2009 in the 40 states with long-term HIV reporting, representing about 20% of the persons diagnosed during that year.
  • Seventy-five percent (6,237) of these diagnoses occurred in young people aged 20–24 years. Indeed, those aged 20–24 had the highest number and rate of HIV diagnoses of any age group (36.9 new HIV diagnoses/100,000 people).

The problem of HIV/AIDS is especially acute in minority communities.Despite representing only 14 percent of the U.S. population in 2009, African Americans accounted for 44 percent of all new HIV infections in that year, according to Centers for Disease Control.

But there’s more.

  • In 2009, black men accounted for 70 percent  of the estimated new HIV infections among all blacks. The estimated rate of new HIV infection for black men was more than six and a half times as high as that of white men, and two and a half times as high as that of Latino men or black women.
  • In 2009, black men who have sex with men (MSM) represented an estimated 73% of new infections among all black men, and 37% among all MSM. More new HIV infections occurred among young black MSM (aged 13–29) than any other age and racial group of MSM. In addition, new HIV infections among young black MSM increased by 48% from 2006–2009.
  • In 2009, black women accounted for 30% of the estimated new HIV infections among all blacks. Nearly (85%) black women with HIV acquired HIV through heterosexual sex. The estimated rate of new HIV infections for black women was more than 15 times as high as the rate for white women, and more than three times as high as that of Latina women.

It’s time to take a stand against this disease. As we recognize World AIDS Day, remember that you have the power to protect yourself. You have a say in what happens to your body.

Remember to be safe and smart with your decisions. Don’t be afraid to get tested or to insist that your partner gets tested; knowing your HIV status and that of your partner or partners will help you make more informed decisions. HIV/AIDS is a global epidemic, but each us can do our part to stop it. Our collective goals is getting to “zero!” That means zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination for those infected.

Live HOPE. Give HOPE.

The Best of the H.O.P.E. Blog

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Thank you for your continued support of the H.O.P.E. Blog. We are preparing to go on holiday break for the month of December and will resume posting on January 6th. During the break we will switch platforms for the blog and implement an additional change or two which we will share with you at the beginning of the year. We aren’t gone yet, check back with us next week to hear about our newest scholarship recipient.

Take a moment to read or re-read YOUR favorite blog posts of 2013.

College Students and Mental Illness

“I promise…I’m not crazy”. Those were the words that left my mouth as tears flowed down my face and people entered my E CR room. I had suffered an emotional breakdown. It was a culmination of traumatic events: the disappointment of not graduating on time, the pressure of juggling 21 credits, involvement in multiple campus organizations, and a part time job led to the moment that would change my life forever. Continue reading…

HU! You Know! Why HBCUs Are Still Relevant

Our society does this constantly as we slowly strip our education system of its humanity by manufacturing employees instead of cultivating talent.  We treat students as identification numbers with scores and letters attached instead of actual human beings with unique circumstances, experiences, talents and interests, then wonder why our country is falling behind in education. Continue reading…

Spending Your Scholarship Money Wisely

Scholarships aren’texactly free money –they require effort to find and actually apply — however, outside of your parent’s checkbook they’re as close as you’ll get. Continue reading…

From the Co-Founders Corner: HBCU Pride Does Not Pay HBCU Bills

The H.O.P.E. Scholarship Initiative wasn’t created to exist in isolation. The H.O.P.E. Scholarship was designed to be a template for HBCU alumni interested in leveraging their time, money and talent to empower their Alma maters. Continue reading…

The 10 Freshmen Commandments

Everyone who wants to be successful follows or creates a guide to reach that success. Reaching success in college– doing well academically, graduating on time and setting oneself up for prime career options– is no different. Students who enjoy great college careers have fun outside the classroom while creating and following a solid guide for academic and social success. Continue reading…

From the Co-Founders Corner: HBCU Pride Does Not Pay HBCU Bills

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe H.O.P.E. Scholarship Initiative wasn’t created to exist in isolation. The H.O.P.E. Scholarship was designed to be a template for HBCU alumni interested in leveraging their time, money and talent to empower their Alma maters.

Since our inception in 2010, The H.O.P.E. Scholarship has raised nearly $10,000 and awarded six scholarships to six deserving students, five of which were enrolled at HBCUs. We have managed to raise this money by doing two simple things: asking people we know and people we don’t know to donate to our cause and by providing numerous opportunities for everybody to give. You have the capacity to do the same for your beloved university.

Over the past several weeks, we have all been bombarded by news stories explaining the deep financial troubles facing many HBCUs.

Historically black colleges in financial fight for their future

State of Emergency for Black Colleges

Grambling University Football Boycott: Canary in a Coal Mine

I could go on, but I won’t. The narrative of financial struggle is woven so thoughtfully into the fabric of our institutions that we sometimes turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the severity of these economic challenges.

Many HBCU alumni beam with pride when the topic of conversation turns to their school. They quickly riddle off the school’s celebrity alumni and recent accomplishments. They wear the gear and recite the cheers as if they were still students, but do they give? If our institutions are going to survive and thrive in the 21st century, it’s incumbent upon all of us who consistently pledge our love and allegiance to our “illustrious” universities to invest in them with dollars and cents! Put your money where your pride is.

This blog is a clarion call to HBCU students and graduates across the country to start brainstorming ways to support their universities with their finances. No excuses. Whether it’s a donation to your school’s annual fund or a membership with your university’s alumni association or a personal  scholarship to a student in need, you are morally obligated to re-invest.

In the words of HOPE Scholarship director, Jeffrey Chance, “HBCU pride does not pay HBCU bills.” Let’s make 2014 a renaissance year for HBCU giving. I promise to do my part. I double dog dare you to do yours.

As always, live HOPE. Give HOPE!

Michelle Janaye
Co-Founder
The H.O.P.E. Scholarship Initiative

Revamp your Wardrobe with Dapper Diamond District’s Raymond Metzger

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“Dress like you’re coming from somewhere and you’ve got some place to go”. Words from Mr. Kanye West that have stuck with me since reading the Daily Mail article years ago. I always want to put my best foot forward wherever I go, starting with my wardrobe. For young African American men the perceptions of others can weigh heavily. I’m not suggesting you wear a 3 piece suit every time you step out of the house, but simply take a little extra time to be aware of the person you present to the world. There’s a way to deconstruct the negative stereotypes while still maintaining your identity. Today I’ll focus on how to begin that journey through dress.

The most frequent statement I hear from friends and clients are “hey I’m really trying to revamp my wardrobe, transition into being a little more professional”. “I have this new job” “new internship” or “I’ve been a sneaker head for years, but I want to start rocking loafers and switch the style up a little bit”.  A lot of young professionals want to stay fun and true to who they are, while maintaining a professional image in the work place. It’s not only possible, but can be a creative and enjoyable experience. Whether you are looking to completely revamp, or if you already have a pretty solid wardrobe and want to add a few stand out pieces here are some tips and staples to developing and maintaining an amazing men’s wardrobe…and for a reasonable price.

Go To Suit If you only have one suit in your closet make sure its navy blue or dark gray. My suggestion is to stay clear from the black suit until you have a couple of other options in your wardrobe. Many men choose a black suit to be their go to or only suit because they think “can’t go wrong with black”. To the contrary black does not go with everything, and it is far less versatile. When revamping a wardrobe you want a suit that is versatile that will make you stand out in an interview and look just as great as separates as it does together. The ability to mix and match will make your wardrobe appear far more extensive.  I’m a fan of a two button suit, three is acceptable, but any more than that and be prepared to not be taken seriously.  Also always throw in a pocket square it makes all the difference, but it should never be the same pattern as your tie. Choose white if you’re ever confused about what color pocket square to wear.

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RM Pocket Square

Suit suggestions: Zara, H&M, Suit Supply, J. Crew

Denim A good pair of jeans can go a long way in rebuilding a wardrobe. The fit will be the most important aspect (if you need a belt to stop your jeans from falling completely to the floor they are way too big). I encourage people to try different brands and cuts as some just may work better with your body type. Dress them up or down, from sneakers to double monks you will be able to make a lot of great combinations with the right pair. Invest in a pair that will last you for years to come. I personally like raw unwashed denim; they simply get more beautiful with age.

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Denim Suggestions: Barney’s, Levi’s, Urban Outfitters

The All Occasion Chino The older I’ve become, I realize the less I wear jeans. Not because don’t like them, but because they aren’t apart of the dress code for work or even class. So I find myself wearing a comfortable pair of chinos that are able to make a smooth transition from class to happy hour, and even an evening out on the town. Being able to have an item that you can wear to work or hanging out with the fellas will make getting dressed a lot easier. Buying versatile pieces is how you get the perfect wardrobe that’s affordable.

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RM Chinos

Chino Suggestions: J. Crew, Gap, Nordstom Rack

Shoes: Take a tip from the ladies, the proper shoes can make or break an outfit. Make your shoes choices wisely. It can take some time to build up a diverse shoe collection of loafers, saddle shoes, wingtips, single and double monks so you don’t have to neglect your sneaker collection. Find new ways to incorporate those sneakers into your evolving style.

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RM Chinos and Sneakers

Shoes Suggestions: Bass, Allen Edmonds, Zara, Nordstrom Rack

The Fit No matter what you wear if the fit is off, more than likely the outfit will fail. You don’t want to look like you’re swimming in your older brother’s clothes or look uncomfortable because your clothes are too tight. A simple jeans, t-shirt, and cardigan combo can look absolutely amazing as long as the proportions are on point. Become familiar with brands and styles that fit you well. Also find a tailor to make necessary adjustments to your suits, trousers, and other garments as needed.

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Now you’re ready to start building and revamping that wardrobe.

Live H.O.P.E. Give H.O.P.E.

Raymond Metzger
Guest Contributor

About Raymond Metzger
Raymond Metzger is a Doctor of Physical Therapy student at Howard Univesity, and Men’s Fashion blogger at The Dapper Diamond District. The blog is dedicated to inspiring menswear choices, showcasing the eclectic style found in the district, and how to achieve a desired look on a reasonable budget.

Follow Raymond
Instagram: @thedapper_dd
Blog: www.thedapperdiamonddistrict.com

Photos by: Shoccara Marcus

You Have to Be “Recruitable”

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Eddie_Francis_PromoI was working a job fair where I met a recent college graduate. I was recruiting for an auto body company and she sheepishly approached our tabled and said, “I guess I don’t have the skills to work for you.”

Whoa. What?

After I let her know that we weren’t only looking for people to knock dents out, I replied, “Now, let’s talk about your approach.  Don’t you eeeeeeever do that again.”

As a job recruitment consultant, I want to satisfy two parties—the employer and the job seeker. In order to do that, I need “recruitable” candidates—people who make me want to advocate their employment.

As a college student, there are five areas where you can make yourself recruitable:

The Résumé

In most cases, a résumé is the first contact an employer has with a candidate. That’s why it is so important to make sure certain elements stand out. For you, the college student, those elements include:  the GPA, student organizational involvement, work study or off-campus job(s), and references.

Let’s dig in a little more. Let’s say you don’t have a GPA over 2.7. You can make up for that by showing great student organizational involvement and/or great performance on the job, whether it is work study or an off-campus job. Understand that the résumés of students with high GPAs automatically go to the top of the pile. Still, great leadership skills through work outside of the classroom is valued.

In the case of student organizational involvement, you should be able to demonstrate bottom line success. You can show such success through membership increases, fundraising results, volunteer hours, awards, etc. These kinds of quantifiable results, in the workforce, are called productivity. FYI, you don’t need a title to show great leadership skills; but be prepared to prove how you contributed to your group’s success.

Presence

Notice that I described the graduate who approached me at the job fair as “sheepish.” Making a great impression is important. I would have reacted differently had the first words out of her mouth been, “My name is (blank) and I have a degree in (blank). Working at a car repair shop has never crossed my mind but I was wondering if you had anything available in my field.”

It goes without saying that confidence establishes a great presence. Make sure you look clean. Employers always remember students whose clothes are pressed as well as those who smile, speak clearly and loudly, use correct grammar, and show great posture.

Speech

Great speakers are almost always highly recruitable. I encourage you to take public speaking classes at your college or university, because it is a great way to strengthen your interpersonal communication skills. This is especially important for the job fair environment where projection and articulation are sorely needed. As a public speaking coach, I focus heavily on these two specific elements, because it is difficult to make an impression when people can’t hear or understand what you say in a crowded room.

Body Language

Slouching, scowling, etc. are major pet peeves of mine. When I had a sour look on my face, people would tell me that no one cared what kind of day I was having. They were right. Body language such as poor posture, blank looks, and dragging feet communicate a poor attitude and/or low self-esteem. Even if you smile while you drag your feet, you’re still dragging your feet!

Let’s look at it from my side of the table, as a recruiter. If I am conducting interviews and three out of every five candidate walked in looking like they wanted to brighten my day, who do you think I will remember (for the right reasons)?

Social Skills

Take advantage of etiquette classes or workshops. Learning to do things such as shake hands and eat properly go a long way in dealing with recruiters and employers. We also monitor students’ social skills online. No, I will not lecture you about your social media presence. Instead, I’ll give you an example of how sneaky I am.

I conduct a social media presentation called “TMI: Turning Bad Social Media Habits Into Great Career Opportunities”. I spoke to a group of well-dressed, well-groomed, well-behaved student athletes only to show them how trifling some of them presented themselves online. Yes, unbeknownst to them, I found some of their stuff and put it on a nice, big screen for them and their peers to see. It only took about five minutes of Googling each victim to get what I wanted. It was great that they showed nice social skills for my presentation but what I found online told me otherwise

I have a secret. Your social media accounts, web sites, profiles, etc. all count as your public presence.

The biggest thing to remember about being recruitable is to not wait until a job interview or the next job fair. Recruiters and employers are watching all the time. Enhance your “recruitability” through counseling at your campus career center. Use what you learn to create a strong presence.

Live H.O.P.E. Give H.O.P.E.

Eddie Francis
Guest Contributor

About Eddie Francis

Eddie Francis is a job recruitment consultant and the author/presenter of “The Black Greek Success Program.” He has also worked in mass media and higher education. Eddie’s past blogs on the H.O.P.E. Scholarship Blog include “The 10 Freshman Commandments” and “The Secret of Gumbo”. You can learn more about him at EddieFrancis.com.

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