WWL>Topics>>2-27-14 2:10pm Angela: on the Honoré Center at SUNO

2-27-14 2:10pm Angela: on the Honoré Center at SUNO

Feb 27, 2014|

Angela talks with Warren Bell of the Honoré Center for Student Achievement at SUNO, a program aimed at helping boost the population of young black men in college, and two students in the program: Donald Brown and Louis Blackmon.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Earlier this week we had retired general Russel -- on talking about his military career. His thoughts on leadership. And the incredible work he's doing with the green army fighting for our environment. But the good general also spoke of -- program he helped create at Southern University here in New Orleans. A program that is working to get young African American males from disadvantaged families. To believe they have a future. It's about education. And it's about having a dream. It's called the honoring senator for undergraduate student achievement. With us in the studio. Is its director Warren bill cal though Angela and it's good to see you as saying here and this -- -- and two of the young men in the program. Louis Blackmon who graduated from -- 35 and 2012. And Donald Brown who graduated from -- high school also in 2012. So this means that you two are in your second year of the program. It has meant our election to take me back in time in your growing up in new world and you're going to McDonald 35. Did you ever think you would be in college. I Nolan who. I knew I wanted to be some great in my community -- I never knew. What is it -- to get there and Millen who when I had to do to get today. Today area and I -- about you John. Yeah plan won't tell you that I -- but I didn't know exactly which one I was gonna go to efforts. How is fair said the university then autism in my arm 'cause this will mark Graham of the. Attendant oh my word that's great news and did you you know it's it's sometimes -- -- is is it was life. Let me let me backtrack a second I think we hear so much today sadly about African American man young man. Either one killing themselves going down a bad path ending up in prison. Did you have friends that went that route. He had did our own and actually. Of the of the Wii remote younger brother same impetus. There like he of these in the on who was in jail and lose that actually. In Austria a lot of guys that I want to have school it. In an outage and -- German rates. He series. This does the job of. Is it because day in your opinion is it because. They never had a dream to go to college they only see their life. Doing drugs or whatever is causing them to end up in jail. Is having I have like some of the guys that -- they just didn't have the opportunity. Because you know of them wanted to go at ten counties did. They had a ideas behind the -- didn't have this put down in half. The finances. Of the -- the best the drive alive they want to live -- -- leasing so. I mean if -- season or sometime monkey see monkey do do this all the members and your family see. And do then you've grown up an analyst there. Most of most of the time to -- a file -- the same -- Most what do you think. Yes I seen in every game but let me I have a modern day. Kept my he had on street in and Amanda in into Yahoo! Sports. -- that's great you are lucky to have had a -- like that. Yes I can vouch for his mom -- okay and I can vouch for odonnells grandma there -- she's the one who actually heard me doing a segment. I believe on television on radio and she called me the next day and said you know my son has -- in Orleans parish. And possible ma'am technically our focus is exclusively Orleans parish. She said that he's in Palmdale and he's my grandson and I went as an ally said send him over let him apply and we are so glad we did because. These days we are recruiting from a broader pool of high schools. And and I think your questions really hit the nail on the head Angela or their responses to -- -- very poignant question hit the nail on the head for so many young men. Who may even be thinking about college. The deck is stacked they don't have the additional family or resources you need. They may receive federal pell grant assistance which our guys receive. But the truth is even at a state institution your federal pell grant is only good for basically your tuition and may be student fees. But every young man or woman attending college has to think about textbooks 600 dollars a semester is the national average. You've got eight. Most young people at that stage are being told by their parents now look you can stay here but you're gonna have to help with the household because the household has its own pressures. Or you're gonna have to find a place on your own if you wanna move out so. The cost of college is always that substantially higher. -- -- question and that was the idea behind our program we always assumed that there were young man out parent. For us this program is very narrow in its focus Angela we're looking for young men because the truth is nationwide. And here in the -- Deanna. The single greatest shortage at the higher level is African American males. Very few much regulating and the and unfortunately even fewer graduate but there are factors that have. A lot to do with that that are not under their control what we tried to do -- this project and it was not my idea I was tapped by the southern university system. And its president Ronald Mason took to basically test the premise. That if you can identify young man who do have that spark that hidden star quality. But who suffer through no fault of their own but from a lack of resource is. What if we could put the resource is on the table so that we ensure they don't have any of the usual reasons to fail. So what if you put them right on campus what if you provide them with their meals and their textbooks all those things that tend to. Prevent a student from completing his undergraduate degree. And so that's what we came up with it's a five year plan we recruited these young men two years ago from their respective high schools but. They sign an actual contract -- -- -- Angela they say for five years they will show up for class and Lisa let me back up we say five years because. These young men came to us without the kinds of ACT scores that were required by state law to get them automatically into a four year institution and -- -- that so they didn't have ACT scores. Right maybe not even the other academic scores can look odd group GPA and from their high school had to be better than a 2.0 OK. There of there AZT score basically I'm not allowed to recruit someone who can already get into -- -- or UN -- What I am going as recruiting young man who scores are within five or six points of that man among. But in our opinion close enough that with some work. They'll be right up to college level work in no time the two young men are brought with me started out that way they're now both fully enrolled its I don't know. You can tell them your majors yourselves guys because this is your show not mine. There -- -- a mommy user is biology. And a long ago premiered at and I wanna be a cardiac surgeon. You just passed a cardiac surgeon the lady was only thing that's right she would have loved to talk to and we were listening on the way here actually to your interview if there. That is terrific and what about you. My major is criminal justice. Terrific we need we need we need. But but go and I thought he was planning to be a teacher and high school coach some day which -- see that. At this stage I know there majors changed but I know what you gonna do two years went two for two years after you're done right to have -- incident and panicked and community leaders. That is the beautiful part of December and elaborate on this program but I wanna sell everybody. After they graduate part of the deal does. They have to go into the public schools and teach for two years that's correct so now you're mentoring other young kids and as they -- seen. The wonderful African American male presence. In public schools which are bearing needed as well it's a beautifully thought out program. I'm going back to their academic since they were quite there but with an issue saying that range that's the idea. And then so they start collagen how do you help them get up. -- they began with their developmental courses that are required by the state board of -- Here's what normally happens if you're in New Orleans. You don't have the AZT scored a go to a UNL or. And so now and so you're told that your only options and there are great options are Delgado or new finance where you spend at least two semesters taking your. What they now called developmental courses back in the day we called him remedial courses the bottom line is. The states as you have to successfully complete those plus eighteen college level credit hours. Then you can apply and be accepted into one of the four year institutions. We figured out a way to do a work around that because fortunately the southern university system includes its own community college up in Shreveport. So technically we bring them into this you know campus but there. All officially enrolled at soft -- the Shreveport campus. However they start their academic experience right here in New Orleans and so now they never have to take a trip to Shreveport. That's a long drive guys I've done them and and it's a more seamless integration they go right from their experience is on the same campus the only difference is their status as a student changes from the Shreveport campus. To the New Orleans campus it's called the college connection program and it's actually open to other students. Not just the young man we recruit for this very unique narrow spectrum program. But the commitment we have for them is five years were gonna do the textbooks. The place to live. The meals everything you needed so that you don't have any of those usual reasons to thwart your dream which is to complete. To become the kind of future community leader that we're talking about and as you said. The man where -- named after knows a little thing or two about leadership. And I am so proud to say that he doesn't just lend his name to this Angela we've been at so many gatherings and we are hearing about so many times when. On his own he's saying -- watch all the visit my website look at this project we're doing because this is the future. A black American male leadership in programs hopefully. That the White House will develop in other campuses around the country because we're -- a test project where a pilot program. And we are very grateful that the state of Louisiana legislature has provided us with start up funding to get this going. But it's gonna take. More were talking about the on the race Jennifer undergraduate student achievement we had to those young men who are cheating and will be right back to talk more about a financial on WW well. Well we're talking about a very exciting program at Southern University. That was born out of but general on -- and the president of the university system coming up with an idea of how to get more African American. Young man. Into college and graduating from college. And then ultimately giving back to their community. You know I've said this multiple times on this program. We all are screaming all the time our concerns about crime what's happening to this killing on the streets. What can we do there isn't a magic -- but there are programs that are absolutely working and this is one of them. If you could see the faces of these too really handsome young men. And the excitement that they have and I think that's what's important. Is that you have bought into it this is your life. And it's your future it's a great program. That goes down to the individuals and it. I wanted to tell me about your life on campus. -- an iPhone can't is is pretty busy. I understand what I had to do. Wake up every day puma a China puma suit -- Italian on every day in. In his bureau -- Because I know whats up put them ballistic on with as CEO and AMP stunts and knowing that everybody's Latin. And that's great so they come up to you and say wow. You're part of honoring group yes very fascinated the the -- and I'm a -- because. We dress up and that her and I guess -- not used to seeing men around -- is that. No but that's good and it makes you feel house. Great. I'm on did the business. Did you think that that college would be as tough as it is. Is actually pretty easy -- that don't realize oh that's good. And the -- study every day. -- -- -- -- we have mandatory spending haute Monday's Wednesday's and Friday's six and Glaxo. Leon. Do you all have to keep a certain grade point average. There's -- we have to keep what 2.5 to stay in the program. Alone. Flows so Lewis so -- just to keep bullet 2.0 -- just the kind of a -- for an academic probation. So. The heads is being held today how you spend it in those kind of like an incentive like -- got to stay Omar if. Let me ask did you you wanna be a doctor. That's where did you want that five years ago or centuries started school I want -- says the six degree really isn't that great. -- that goes back to the how lucky for you that you knew what you wanted to do right and how lucky that this program was around. It's gonna -- in that direction this -- -- but all too often people don't have dreams where they don't believe they can do something. And you all our news -- now okay. Lauren bell executive director of this program. It just called herself proud daddy and I I can see it. When you know I have four daughters Angela -- the naturally. And I I like to joke and tell people I have four daughters because I was just trying to have one son along the way. And now look at me and I and I mean it when I say that idea. I hope they never ever taken the wrong way when I ever refer to them -- -- because it said with the utmost love and dedication and compassion. And passion about what we're doing because at the end of the day. If we don't do this and duplicate this in other campuses. What -- our future be moving forward. We've already got a situation where there are so few African American males even -- regulating them to college and -- were completing. This is critically important that we find ways and let me be clear this is not the only answer to all the problems we face. But this is one place. I I don't pretend that we -- program for young men who've already taken some bad pants are made -- unfortunate decisions. We're actually looking and we needed when we say we're looking for those hidden stars. Those little jams of a young man. Who can be groaned and hopefully capped off any path towards prison because you know there are cynics out there who say society is almost set up these days to. Not encourage. Young men. From disadvantaged means towards that lifestyle but it almost leaves them no choice. Meanwhile we're in a society where in our own community we know that poverty is still a critical issue that has not been resolved yet we know that and especially among African American males. Unemployment is a big deal also. How could we not be shocked that we have the other things manifesting themselves like the violent crime. Well here's a program that says we're gonna take some young men and rescue them before they are broke golf that way. We're gonna make sure they finish college but we're also gonna make sure that they know while they're being educated that they are here for a very special mission. They -- their literally a very special elite team of seals are Marine Corps warriors or whatever but their job is to go into those classrooms. And to present for those other young people who were exposed the same images and stereotypes all along. I had a young man and a high school were I was recruiting saying and and and and for a black man what are the options if he wants to be somebody important. And they all said well I guess either they want us to be an athlete. You or some kind of entertainer. Somebody. Who makes a lot of money but only in those very naral feels they don't. See images of doctors lawyers but criminal justice experts etc. And what we're trying to do is send out this little army of young men and hopefully three years the first. Will be graduating. Who will say. By their presence in those classrooms jump into something else I look at us. And so when we worked with them Angelo -- not just working on academic success every Monday in their life. We do something called -- Monday's. Which is nothing more than -- -- like a liberation but it's nothing more than a weekly speakers series and every single week they hear from another usually African American male. Telling his story of achievement but also of the challenges along the way. Of the mistakes and the wisdom gained from those mistakes because as I tell them look guys nobody has made more mistakes and sometimes very public ones in his life. Then you're director. And the reason I'm so adamant about some of the things I am adamant about -- view. Rather -- dress. Behavior. Remaining substance abuse free is because I know firsthand why you need to do this now it's critical to your success. So we tell my stories along the way the good the bad and the ugly. Some of those speakers every Monday night. We have a social work team in place of social worker licensed social worker. But also we use some of the -- -- social work interns working on their master's degree so they engaged the young man in life skills I sat in on a session. And started blessing and laughed as I heard the guys discussing relationships. And while some of them are more. Accomplice at handling relationships than others like mr. brown here I heard guys who are wonderful guys but. I almost got -- as well as as they expressed will GI just -- having -- one of them tells the story of being dumped on Valentine's Day a week ago. Another one as he is is is sharing with his social worker well -- all the girls I like haven't responded and all of these other girls are always hit on May announce that matters and all my sons they have issues. But I wasn't supposed to be in the room so I left quickly but the point being we wanna come we wanna create the complete man. We tell them that they have multiple values they must -- miles and doctor Mason helped create them and he's -- into the seven whatever. And so every honorary man must be considerate of others he must be disciplined or you'll never get through the program he must be ethical. And I have explained to them over and over ethical doesn't mean knowing what's right or wrong it means doing what's right and not doing what's wrong even when nobody's Watson. They must be self aware they must be persistent. They must be punctual always I'd tell him if you walk in class a minute later. As far as we're concerned the professors ought to shut you out until they are ready for you to walk in because you're insulting the professor. And disrespecting him -- there you might miss something. Where -- my guys persistent -- self aware and a wasteland that Lewis mentioned earlier. We want all of them to be like our general -- servant leader once that. That's someone who doesn't say you do this for me that's someone who leads by example by sacrifice. I tell them. On a Thursday before Good Friday a man chose to state not to his disciples -- lineup and watch my feet what did he do guys he took off his -- And watch their feet to make a point and this is the point we're gonna serve our community were in a lead by example. I'm hoping every one of them says you know teaching is much nicer than I've thought and this is something out of duke forever. Because at the end of the day that's really the hidden agenda on our part. And so we allow them to major and other things and at the end of the day I wanna say that Donald if you don't make my med school. Remember you can trying fifteen doctors -- yeah. As a teacher and tell and you still get to claim all that credit for them and say I've made that. This is a wonderful program it's exciting to hear about. And we're not done mommy come back after the news we're gonna talk to Donald Ronald -- I'm Mason who was the head of soon no right after -- We're talking about a very special program that southern university in New Orleans. With the honorary. On a -- of course our great general on -- helped create. With doctor Ron Mason who was president of southern university system out of Baton Rouge but certainly very well known here in New Orleans answer I appreciate you calling in. You should be very proud of these guys. I am Angela you know we are we look at it didn't start out there. And you know they're they're they're not easy to 515. And we think we have a program. That would enable them which and want to graduate crowd. Today and as literally as we're speaking. President Obama on. Is announcing. The launch of my brother's keeper. Which is sort of a new initiative but in reading what it's about and again it is to help African American young men and other men of color. Get on the right path and lead a productive life and this is I mean I was just saying to these guys -- were ahead of that game. No you know more on the president's order survivors or historically black colleges and universities. We've actually been war and were is spoke to develop. In all cultures to enabling young black -- To overcome structural barriers that we face in America. And the program that we recommend to the president decides that America. Is helping that. You know specifically focuses on the special circumstances the all African American men and -- historically black colleges and universities. Two of focus on the specific issues that are unique to that segment of the population. So while book keeper in mission that is something big there's a good president now. We think this specific piece oracle defy you to do and America. Is open that's also gonna benefit from the larger package -- -- the president put out. Could you explain the -- Sure in our constitution in America through. Our slayer rewards. Was -- was enacted into law. In a pretty good compromise or. Where it would be our district of human being. -- our agenda for our tour is about. Taking that preakness and making our core hole. Five. About reclaiming it developed and blackmail human capital. That's. That's what worries me. I know that with all the -- -- -- doing and others are doing there's still is this concern. That our our prisons are filled with African Americans I mean that the figures -- won in twelve. African American man is in prison. What helps can be done to turn that. Well you know in -- 74%. Of people imprisoned or African American and over 90% of men. The real gold -- India. -- center which is the the wallet version of the the agenda -- America. Is all the time this battle. That are cradle to prison pipeline. By training teachers to understand what it is -- would call that. Putting them back into the K12 classrooms. So that you know we can help young black men and others understand. In other challenges that they -- facing because who America is structured but also give them the tools that they need to overcome them so little time. Phones that are producing. And sort of tracking -- in prison or tracked them more ought to pep up. It'll take about every at least -- can -- But. But have to work to be done now what a real understanding orders were dealing with fear. I know that this is the second class is too young men sitting in front of me are your second year for the program. General honoring mentioned that there is the hope that it would also expand pressed to a program in Mississippi are you seeing this. All over. Yeah oh yeah you know the number McCord. We've generally true -- in the shop especially. But also across the country. And his agenda barker is ultimately you'll duplicate. And historically black universities across well because you know restore public universities. All the permissions driven to do kind of work. Are they just haven't the well. -- should be able. To compete with the larger institutional -- So. You know the work is -- has to be -- in every state across America especially in well. Campbell or would the president initiative opener will be able shut them out in a way that about only. -- program. Oh the providing value proposition. Restored with black universities world because. You know -- globally competitive our media all capital we can Muster. And we think we figure out a way to bring back in the human capital. That we've been suppressed for law and human capital -- yet. Well much success to you I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying. Listening to two these two young men and really seeing the excitement in their rise and that's that's what it's about. They aren't certain about their lot we have -- Louis Blackmon and Donald Brown. The minister and president. -- It's yes they are and thank you very much we're gonna take another break we'll be right back and talk to these two young men some more stay with sector you. Lewis Black -- -- Donald Brown -- in the second year of honoring senator a wonderful program. -- to Southern University. And -- bill is executive director of it I've just enjoyed listening to everything we have a caller Sid from -- hand since. You -- What questions. Director mr. bill yes. Not that it's being polluted. Political question but do you show. Involved an African American males such as doctor Ben Carson and -- Shoddy and what do you mean show them sir. Bob do you like I'll get there are stories that -- About how well Beijing bureau and them. They -- -- -- question but -- also do like. That's an abuse and soul. -- by column. What some examples of ways that you didn't. Shia led to a get the best that it. The backlash that they liked our list that document course and she's sleeping African American community. Sir I'm familiar with both of those gentlemen very well. But why don't we don't study individual persons right now these young men have a very busy academic schedule. These speakers we bring in on Monday our local men. -- from the president of Entergy to. The social workers working for different agencies. Successful businessman. In the one of whom has now decided that every suit he gives up should go to our young man so vacant. Continue to look good our social workers emphasized basic life skills. Because that's our emphasis right now we're not at all trying to be politically I find it interesting you said at least three times I'm not trying to be political I don't remember anything political. Being discussed at all. So what it -- not grooming future radicals if that's what you're trying to suggest a -- We're simply preparing young men to beat good men to be good husbands. Father as providers. Role models for others so that at the end of the day there is an old woman in Iran who won't say. I sure wish my daughter find somebody like one of these two young men sitting next to me. Because I've said that have my own life I wouldn't mind having one of these guys march up the Al with one of my beautiful daughters. That's how much I have faith in their character in their drive and in their future's success. So I'm not gonna go there with -- is there -- -- said right this is not about politics this is not about Ben Carson. By the way is still considered the greatest commencement speaker that Xavier University average I can say that because I spent eight years -- Xavier. And I am quite familiar with where he finds himself now. But I'm not going there are those days are over for me I'm not that I'm not the one to stir up controversy I'm trying to groom young men. To be the kind of young man that evens it investor and would say enough that's what I'm talking. I appreciate your call very much and I think it's important that you really. Beautifully. You know plan out this is what the goal leaders. And you know what these are bright young guys and they're going to be able to read. And you know they can they get their politics out later that is not my intention gonna get it if that is right. I'm looking at the two of them anyway let's go back to YouTube before we get that another break about. What is been the toughest part of this. Is in dealing with the -- for me personally has been doing with the different language barriers in the a different time with -- it. And there are different teaching methods yeah you know -- terror. By the view of the depending on where our people grew up from -- went to school that you tell the type that. -- today are some teases fresh -- -- inaudible it and tell you this'll -- what it is is sound teaches the they'll exit there they'll break it down -- they have gone to great depth fall one matter of you know make sure that you understand this that it just from a get to the lesson plan they wanna make sure that you grasping inflammation. Are are you doing pretty well. Grade lines yes yeah. And how about you Louis Austin are you a little -- Say it costs. I Disney the highs Aaron it's among batted the panic and one of my tennis. We're very proud owners were very proud of both if you will take and other re really trying to. It's a program called on the race under its part of southern university and it is helping young black men. Get a big. Giant help. To get involved in what they want a dream about and I'm so thrilled that John Lewis Black man wants to get too wound police work or something like that yeah. And Donald Brown is going to be Arkady cardiologist one day I can see it. We have a caller you'll understand is also part of the program Jarrett. And you're also in the second year. Yes -- -- on the part of 2012 or and you were loving it yeah. It actually it taught me a lot. Interact with people -- just can't. Enjoy intact and defeat or at all or promote you to scrap. Couple public administration major not planned 222 years it's -- war is well. Will that -- are really wanted to work with development district and hit the head of the organization. Oh my god what a wonderful planes. Before running for mayor you make him look I. Wasn't supposed to have that -- -- -- not there you can make the announcement here. Yeah that that that actually had a great break they make it. I'll -- that I -- wanna work and give back the community Oakmont on a large scale. Practiced in the classroom but definitely. Where are a lot of people can be reached will be effective and -- Let me ask you would you have had the availability to go to college if it hadn't been for this program. Our boxes have been slimmer not come -- -- of the program but I'll always seen myself. Going to college and obtain a degree and giving back to give it back to the community. In a positive way to help to reach back to that. You know -- love to hear them loved that people who are well that's -- us now you're really did we were talking in the commercial that there are no guarantees with this. They gunmen are given every opportunity everything is paid for everything is provided. But they don't have to pay it back because they're gonna teach when they graduate but. If they don't. Or if they don't continue the program they are and they understand when they signed their agreement with the -- that. They're also signing off on a promissory note and while we will never -- asks them for everything we put out. They do understand that we can ask them to repay us for a portion of that. Once they leave college. And let me add if you leave our program but continue to be an undergraduate students -- know we have sent to every single young man who has left our program. You don't have to worry about this at all while you're in school. But once you leave school we will probably have someone knocking on your door to say you know you sign this agreement. And we call it having skins in the game Angela because if there were totally free free. It might not be as important to them either so they understand that there's a cost for their failure on the air around as well. And it's the last thing we want 'cause at the end of the day we hope that no one ever had to pay us back any thing. Because they'll be doing what we always intended for them and that's leading by example in the classrooms of the New Orleans metropolitan. And and but then there are rules -- so it. There are rules yet to live by every day and it is it is showing up but it is keeping your grade point average. But it's also because I remember general on the race at saying that the group that was going to be asked and had the criteria of note drugs. No -- record that is correct and no children which I thought was interesting to do so it has to be somebody who really wants to focus. And keep what. Whatever your dream is keep it going. Jared is going to be -- mayor you are going to be the police found you're gonna keep our -- strong -- among. I love that and I'm going to be a happy old geezer now -- -- -- don't work but this is it's exciting it's exciting to. -- those -- options out there and I know you gonna kill me if you don't get a chance. On -- CU SA dot SUS dot edu you can actually Google on a -- center and you'll find us our phone number on campus. 286. 5071. Excuse me 51075. Ones are so I have 107. Thank you guys good luck to each and every one of you thank you land -- thank you don't have to see okay let's go to the newsroom and Christmas.