Parent appreciation dinner

BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — Parents of the Woodson Warriors and Girlfriends of the Woodson were treated to delicious meal provided by Outback Steakhouse while they took in some important information on how to move their children to the next level in life.

Hosted by the Women of the Woodson, the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum was filled with hungry parents and their well-behaved tykes Thursday, May 5. The dinner served two purposes: to show their appreciation for the parents of the children in their programs and to inform them of other opportunities for the children.

The two programs are only available to girls and boys who attend Melrose Elementary School, for the soon-to-be sixth graders, the Women of the Woodson cooked up an informational session for programming beyond the museum.

“We’ve extended an invitation to program leaders to speak with you for just a few minutes about the programs that they have available,” said Terri Lipsey Scott, chair of the museum.

Manitia Moultrie from the Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority informed parents of the AKA Akademy, which accepts both boys and girls starting in the sixth grade.

It is a youth development program that offers opportunities to help students become well-rounded adults with the focus on either getting them into high school or helping them get into the college of their choice, pursue the career that they are interested in or whatever their dream is.

The ladies are called Exquisite Gems and are mentored by the ladies of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and the young men are called Pathfinders and are under the tutelage of the Eta Rho Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

Through their time in the Akademy, they learn leadership skills, go on a host of field trips, such as canoeing and amusement parks; the high schoolers have the chance to attend a three-day college tour to five different colleges every year. By the time a student graduates, they would have had the potential of visiting 15 colleges.  They also get help with college applications and recommendation letters.

Two former Akademy students were on hand to give their testimonies. Angelina Kincy joined the Akademy in the sixth grade and is now starting her senior year in August at Florida State, and Clarence Scott, IV, who joined in the ninth grade, completed his master’s degree and is now a cadet with the St. Petersburg Police Department. Both recommended the academy and said their time in the program helped prepare them for life.

You can download an application at www.zuochapter.org/index.php/aka-akademy. Applications are due June 6 and can be dropped off at the Woodson Museum. There are always more applicants than spots, so get your application in now!

Rosalyn Connelly stopped by to talk about the St. Petersburg Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s program called the Delta Academy. Their academy is a mentoring program that promotes positive interaction and social development skills among African-American adolescent females in grades five through eight.

The program goals focus on building self-esteem and fostering leadership qualities among this identified group of adolescent females. The academic component of the program is designed to pique the interest of young girls to subject areas and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The program goals are achieved through the participant’s involvement in workshops, field trips, community service projects, bonding activities and strong parental support.

Their sister program called the Delta GEMS is offered to girls in grades 9-12.These young women participate in workshops consisting of etiquette classes, STD awareness, dating, dressing for success, as well as applying to colleges and scholarship information.

Through a partnership with various fraternities, they also offer two workshops a year to young men. This past April, the Deltas graduated the alpha class of the Gentlemen’s Institute, which culminated in a Beautillion, the very first in this area. It was offered to 11th and 12th grade boys and served as an introduction into society for Tampa Bay’s young men.

Applications are accepted through Aug. 30 and can be downloaded at http://stpetedeltas.org/.

LaShante Keys of the Kappa League Male Leadership Institute was also on hand to talk his program for young men the sixth through 12th grade.

The objective of this program is to encourage the elements of achievement, leadership, service and scholarship for young men as they transition into the next phase of the life after high school.

During the Male Leadership Institute program, the participants are required to attend workshops on topics such as:  etiquette, fiscal responsibility, men’s health, financial aid, career preparation and public speaking.  In addition, over the years the students have attended social and cultural events as well as performed community service projects.

“Our goal is to see them go to college, but we also make sure that they have other options. Our main goal is to make sure that they are better citizens of the community,” Keys said, stating that he understands not everyone can go to college.

Tyler Crump has been in the program since the seventh grade. He praised Keys for helping him achieve his goals.

“It was fun; I’m glad I did it, and it kept me out of trouble,” said Crump, who’s headed off to college to become an orthopedic surgeon.

“We have to keep our young children involved,” said Zowanda Williams, Crumps mom. “Without LaShante it wouldn’t have been possible.”

The Kappa League Male Leadership Institute meets at the Woodson Museum on the second and third Sunday at 2 p.m. each month. Parents are invited to stop by and get a feel for the program.

After awards were given out to those who worked all year to make the two programs a success, Scott and Roderick C. Cunningham, a mentor with the Woodson Warriors, gave the parents a pep talk and encouraged them to give their children unconditional love so that they will not go outside of the house for it.

All applications can be dropped off at the Woodson Museum before their respective due dates.

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