Ron Brown Scholar Community Service Foundation
2008 Community Service Foundation Grants
At the heart of the Ron Brown Scholar Program lies an unshakable commitment to service. The Ron Brown Scholar Program launched its Community Service Foundation (CSF) in April of 2008 with the intent to help Ron Brown Scholars continue serving their communities through innovative service projects. Thanks to a gift from the CAP Charitable Foundation, the CSF will award small grants to Ron Brown Scholar applicants who submit proposals of service projects that demonstrate visionary solutions to problems of social importance.
2008 Grant Recipients:
Sparlha Swa (RBS 1997) was awarded $1,000.00 for her project entitled Project Vote. The goal of this project was to support the empowerment of young, black residents of Brooklyn to participate in the voting process. CSF funding helped create a powerful work of art (compilation CD) that brought 13 artists together with the goals of educating and mobilizing. Sparlha and her team’s hard work and dedication also enabled the successful planning and implementation of a voter registration event concert to include the artists and political speakers. They printed 2000 flyers, pressed 1000 CD’s and emailed over 10,000 addresses to promote the event. As a result, their voices were heard, the venue was filled, and a new artist’s collective was formed.
"The goals of the grant awarded to were to 1) found a Brooklyn-based artist collective called the B Hive, 2) organize a free Voter Registration Concert called "Project Vote" which took place on October 4th, '08 and 3) produce and release a compilation CD of the same title featuring artists from the B Hive. Here is a trailer of the performances at the Voter Registration Concert. Film Credit: Karen Song."
Click Here for Project Trailer
May Lugemwa (RBS 2000) and Aaliyah Williams (RBS 1998) were awarded $6,604.50 for their project entitled The Cure. The CSF funding produced a national public service announcement style short film to inspire and energize American citizens, communities and leaders to work toward affordable, quality healthcare and financial stability for all Americans. Their film won GRAND PRIZE of the AARP-UCLA Stolen Dreams film competition. Congratulations!
Birthday Party Project
Folake Dosu (RBS 2007) and Jamel Seagraves (RBS 2007) were awarded $4,085.00 for their project entitled The Birthday Party Project. CSF funding has been used thus far to organize birthday parties for underprivileged refugee children living in the Chicago area. Folake and Jamel hope that their connections in the Bay area will bring about similar events there. These parties serve to celebrate the human spirit, but also promote awareness of the refugee population and encourage community activism in addressing refugee-related issues.
Project Skill Build
Mike Woodward (RBS 2004) and Neveen Mahmoud (RBS 2007) were awarded $5,000.00 for their project entitled Project Skill Build. CSF funding was used in partnership with Habitat for Humanity to send skilled builders and construction workers to New Orleans, Louisiana, to help with rebuilding efforts after the destruction of this area by Hurricane Katrina. They have recently returned from their first trip to New Orleans and report success. They will use their newly secured connections there on the ground to establish a continuing presence in the communities. Their goals have become more long term and include plans for an institute to train local unskilled workers in the construction trade and to offer various workshops to help assist in the return to self-reliance. They are currently in the process of applying for 501(c)3 status. Project Skill Build was a SEMI-FINALIST in this year’s Echoing Green social entrepreneurship fellowship award competition and was also a SEMI-FINALIST in the Dell Social Innovation Competition. These are phenomenal accomplishments—congratulations, Mike and Neveen!
Write Stuff: College Edition
Crystal Venning (RBS 2006) was awarded $1000 for her project entitled The Write Stuff: College Edition. CSF funding assisted Crystal in establishing a program to help high school students at the Academy of Mount Saint Ursula in Bronx, New York, with the college application writing process. Crystal has successfully recruited many Yale students to work with high school seniors on their essays, and the College Access Consortium of New York (CACNY) has posted Write Stuff’s website on their website as a resource for the upcoming 2010 college application season. Congratulations, Crystal!
Mental Health Awareness in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Status: Complete and On-going
Shirley Delaleu (RBS 1998) was awarded $1000 for this project, which sought to raise awareness of mental health and illness in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and to educate community health workers about dealing with mental health. The project impacted the population served by the Worldwide Orphans Foundation. Shirley was able to implement workshops for teachers and emotional intelligence curriculum in the WWO schools. With assistance from colleagues at the WWO clinic she was also able to train staff in mental health awareness and group therapy enabling local staff to continue the group therapy sessions she started for adults diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Her work continues even in her absence and the director of the Ethiopia’s WWO program has commended her efforts. Congratulations, Shirley!
Lorenzo Alexander ACES Foundation—Life Skills and Tutoring/College Bound initiative
Brandon Nicholson (RBS 2001) was awarded $1000 for the Lorenzo Alexander ACES Foundation—Life Skills and Tutoring/College Bound initiative. CSF funds will provide Oakland youth (6th -12th grade) in summer school over the course of six weeks, with workshops for academic assistance. The efforts of Brandon and his initiative hope inspire students to pursue higher education, initiate promising careers, maintain strong family units, and give back to their communities.
More updates to come......