ST. PETERSBURG — Gibbs High School counselor and Phi Beta Sigma member Javarius Green demonstrated how he takes service to the community’s youth to heart when he held his first scholarship banquet last month at the Thomas Jet Jackson Recreation Center.
Anyone who may have passed by and peered into the room where awardees and family members were sitting would not have had any idea that more than $6,000 in scholarships were about to be awarded to high school graduates and young entrepreneurs with 21st-century ideas for starting their own business.
The seed for Greene’s dedication to helping local youth started when he was a young man growing up in south St. Pete.
“I participated in a lot of youth activities when I was younger,” said Greene.
However, there’s always that one pivotal event that defines one’s purpose in life. For Greene, it was a course in community psychology at Florida A&M University.
“I met a professor named Dr. Dana Dennard who opened up my eyes to what a community really is,” he said, adding that he did his community service project at Richards High School in Tallahassee.
He recruited more than 20 college students to be mentors to the high school students, and that was when his love for community and educating youth flourished. He even received the Mentor of the Year from the school in 2011.
Green said he wants to ensure that the youth in St. Pete succeed in life so that is why “I grind so hard to educate youth, provide them with post-secondary education options as well as scholarships.”
His effort to help local young entrepreneurs and scholars to pursue their dreams culminated in donations of four scholarships. Two entrepreneurial scholarships for the amount of $2,500 were donated by Cory’s Hope Foundation Scholarship from the Scott family in memory of their son who was an educator in Pinellas County Public Schools.
High school graduate Brian Barco received the Cory’s Hope Foundation Scholarship for developing an entrepreneurial venture entitled Four Kings.
“It’s about the four generations of Barcos,” he said, who explained that they are all alive.
He described his business as a parent company “so we can start smaller businesses and focus on smaller projects.”
As a child, Barco played a lot of video games, so it only seemed natural that his umbrella business approach would center on game development. He also works with another family team to develop a clothing brand that is not only attractive but also affordable. Lastly, the family is developing a music label with input from his brother Brandon who is one of two recording artists.
The second recipient of the Cory’s Hope Foundation Scholarship was K’yandre Alexander who was unable to attend the event.
Jeanne McCallum Memorial Scholarship winner Toi Smith talked about how her business, Herbal Life, is about “earthy things that people take for granted.” She found out about Greene’s scholarship program from her AVID teacher at Lakewood High School and plans to attend Miami-Dade College in this fall.
Christopher Smith was awarded the Yara Green Scholarship. He will be attending Florida A&M University in the fall, majoring in accounting.
Smith had a chance to tour FAMU through the College Reach-Out Program where he was able to experience campus life and make a decision where to attend. He is highly motivated and has a clear vision for what he wants to do with his future.
“I have a personal passion for making sure the money’s right. When I was a kid, I was always saving money…and that’s what I like doing. When I was in middle school, I wished and wanted to be a CEO and own a big business.”
So in a few years, St. Pete will have a major money manager with the skills to build his own business and fund other businesses of color as his entrepreneurial empire expands. He’s already speaking the language!
“I guess I’ll be behind the scenes–you know like when the cash flow, balance sheets come in– that’s what I’d like to be focusing in on.”
The Jeanne McCallum Scholarship and Yara Green Scholarship were made possible by Graffiti Clothing Store, Javaris Green, Shawn Crawford, Stacy Crawford, the Cunningham Family and Vickie and Tom Dunn. Each scholarship was worth $500.