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Inland Valley Uplift Foundation’s 9th Annual Youth Leadership Conference

LaVerne, CA — With the theme “Preparation: A key to Success”, the Inland Valley Uplift Foundation (IVUF), assisted by the Zeta Tau Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, held the ninth annual Youth Leadership Conference (YLC) at the University of La Verne. The participants were diverse groups of young men in grades 5 -12. This YLC continued a tradition that was started five years ago by inviting the parents and having separate session for mothers and fathers. The IVUF believes that the more individuals involved in a child’s upbringing, the better his chances are for success.


The conference was started by Donald Mahoney, Master of Ceremonies followed by the Invocation by Rev. Steve L. Lorry, Senior Pastor of the Antioch, MBC in Pomona California.  Other Omega Psi Phi Chapters from the Southern California area were present included: Lambda Omicron, Mu Alpha Alpha, Phi Beta Beta, Pi Rho, Psi Gamma Gamma, Rho Iota Iota, Sigma Iota Iota, Tau Tau, and Zeta Rho. These Chapters represented an area from Oceanside to Lancaster, California. 


The Soros of the Pomona Valley Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority handled registration and were one of the major presenters in the mother’s portion of the Conference.


 The Youth Conference presented information on College Preparation, Life Skills, Planning and Achieving Goals, The Electoral College, STEM, and “Is College for You?” The Youth workshop presenters were Keith Parker, Stephen Baker, K-Rhan Vallatine, Kwame Dow, Robert Evans, John Hobbs, Paul Turner and Michael Haynes. The students attended workshops on Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) presented by the STEM Program Coordinator Michael Haynes, a Compliance Engineer, in the Toxic/Hazardous Waste Unit, SCAQMD. At this year’s workshop he presented both the STEM Careers of the future”, and College Preparations for a STEM College majors. In his presentation Mr. Hayes said: “We are living in a Technology driven world and a Global Market place requiring both middle and high school students, especially Minority students to re-consider their College major and Career field. We were always measured by how fast we could run, and how good we bounce a ball; now we must begin focusing on designing the running shoes and making a better Ball”.  During the presentations, Mr. Haynes outlined curriculum updates made at the middle-high school levels in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, while explaining to student’s the identification of genetically modified food (vegetables) verse hybrid vegetables and showing examples of the new career fields such as:  3-D Printing, Hazardous Materials, Genetics- (Designer Babies), Cloning, Unman- Aerial units (Drones), Aviation and Transportation management.  Mr.Haynes said “Now we must Prepare our Students to think, not only globally, but on an intergalactic level, i.e. occupation of the planet Mars”.  After showing 35 slides on STEM Careers of the Future I.T. Transportation Management, Bio/ Environmental Engineering, Genetic Modified Foods (GMO), Cellular /Computer Technology /GPS, UAS (Drone Systems Operator) and Hazardous Waste and Materials Management, Mr. Haynes, closed out the presentation saying, “STEM Careers are exciting career fields.” He then awarded two (2) unmanned flying units (drones) to students, in the 5th-12th grades that are interested in the fields of Aviation, Computer Technology and Transportation. Workshop evaluation, showed many Parents and Students asked for a longer presentation, next year on STEM Careers and College Preparation. They were concerned that there is not enough STEM incorporated into the current school curriculums.


The Mother’s Conference led by Ronnie Walker consisted of five presentations. The first was a Los Angeles Police officer presentation titled “Trifling Kids come from Trifling Parents.” The second presentation was “A Key to Success” by Stephen Baker, an Advance Communication Consultant. The third presentation was “The Blind Stigma, Mental Health in the Black Community” by Charles Walker (Social worker therapist). The fourth presentations were “College Prep” by Angela Calloway-Thornton (Teacher).  The fifth and final presentation was “Fund Raising” by Shannon   Thurmond (College Funding Specialist).  All presenters were excellent.  Most of the Mothers want earlier notification for next year’s YLC


The Fatherhood session was divided into five modules.   “The first presentation was “A Study of Values, i.e., Personal, Family and Job.” Fathers were asked by Dr. George D. Taylor to define for themselves, from a list of value-oriented words which ones best represented their belief system in all three sectors, personal, family and job. The second presentation was a discussion by Ms. Lashonda Smith of the process of effective communication.  In other words, what is the best way for fathers to establish and maintain positive relationships with their sons so that as the son continued on his journey to manhood, he will live to enjoy “the good life.”  The third module consisted of a representative from the California State University, Los Angeles, Ms. Marjani Chidinma, Admissions Counselor, CSULA, who gave an overview of the Admissions process for the CSU System. She listed requirements for each of the 23 campuses and sited their similarities and differences. The two afternoon sessions consisted of a review of “Fathers’ Rights.” This presentation detailed the child support system and child custody and visitation court system.  Specifically, the attendees were told about how to adjust or modify child support orders and how to obtain and/or modify custody and visitation orders.  This session was presented by Attorney Damon E. Martin, J.D., Esq. The final Modules was The Law and What You Should Tell Your Son.” The session was conducted by Retired LAPD Detective Ronnie Walker. He shared with the fathers several videos of police citizen interaction. He explained in detail the language and behavior that often leads to conflict between citizens and police officer and how to avoid tragedy. 

Kyle Cazares, Admissions Office for the University of La Veerne welcomed the students, parents and the Men of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He addressed young men in the 9-12th grades on the college admissions process.  He stressed that preparation and hard work will increase their options.  To enhance their chances for admission to the college or university of their choice, the students were advised to take the appropriate classes, prepare for the ACT/SAT exams and their hard work would be rewarded. He took them through the University of La Verene’s criteria for acceptance, gave them his business card and offered them an open invitation for them or their parents to contact him to further discuss the opportunities at the University of La Verne.

 For information about future Youth and Parent Leadership Conferences in contact: James Wilson at: inland.ivuf@yahoo.com, or visit face book at InlandValleyUpliftFoundation.

By James Wilson

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