October 08, 2004
Metro East teens giving back to their communities
CARBONDALE, Ill. - - Metro East area teens who participated in a leadership weekend last month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale are learning the value of giving back to their communities.
The teens built brand new computers during the second Paul Simon Leadership Conference last month at SIUC's Touch of Nature Environmental Center.
On Monday, Oct. 11, four non-profit organizations in the Metro East area will receive the computers during a news conference set for 10 a.m. at East St. Louis Community College.
Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend the news conference in Library Building B, main floor, of East St. Louis Community College Center, 601 James R. Thompson Blvd., East St. Louis. Public Policy Institute Director Mike Lawrence and program recipients will be among those in attendance.
As part of the hands-on activities that combined leadership, development and career information, Missy Dunn, an information technology support specialist at Shawnee Community College, and other staff, helped teams build new personal computers. Each team then nominated and voted for a non-profit community organization to receive the computer they built.
The exercise - as well as the leadership weekend - focused on team building and giving back to the community, said Public Policy Institute Director Mike Lawrence, who was very impressed with the young men who attended.
"I believe they have learned a great deal about leadership and teamwork and this will give them the opportunity to feel the fulfillment that comes from giving back to the community," said Lawrence.
Simon and Lawrence used a 1994 report by the Illinois Commission on African American Males, chaired by former Illinois Attorney General and SIUC graduate Roland W. Burris, as inspiration for the weekend. The report offered recommendations in several areas, including economic development and employment, education, family life and African-American manhood, health and housing.
University professor and Institute staff member Linda Renee Baker said the youths who attended learned valuable lessons at the workshop, and they are giving needed assistance to community-based organizations "that sometimes have limited funding but do very important work in their community."
The four community-based organizations receiving computers are:
- Holy Angels Women's and Children's Sojourn, 771 Vogel Place, East St. Louis; director, Pat Lewis. Sponsored by Catholic Urban Programs.
- The Youth Empowerment Summit (YES) of East St. Louis. Facilitator is the Rev. Harold Lowery. An HIV-prevention program for teens, the program trains teens to become peer counselors to talk about HIV prevention and safety. Sponsored by the East Side Health District.
- O'Fallon Outreach Center. Director is Joyce Wills. Provides tutoring, lunch programs and support for less fortunate children in the O'Fallon area.
- East St. Louis Father's Center. Provides parental counseling, training and support for young men.
Two participants, Anthony Rushing, a senior at Cahokia High School and Darryl Matthews, a senior at East St. Louis Senior High School, were chosen by the local planning group to also receive computers based on their leadership, weekend participation and their conduct and character. Matthews also received the inaugural Paul Simon Leadership and Character Award, based upon his participation, leadership and character.
Among the fraternal and community-based groups in the Metro East area participating in the weekend were Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi fraternities; the Top Ladies of Distinction Inc.; Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Charter School; the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Center; and the East St. Louis Community College Center, all in East St. Louis.
Serving others is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.
For more information, contact Baker at 217/553-6660.
(Directions to the news conference:)
From the east: Take Interstate 64 West to Interstate 55/70 West to the Third Street exit and continue to Broadway. Turn left onto Broadway and go to Eighth Street. Turn right onto Eighth Street and continue to Converse. Turn right onto Converse and go to the visitors' parking lot. News conference is in Building B.
From the north: Take Interstate 55/70 to Third Street exit and continue to Broadway. Turn left onto Broadway and go to Eighth Street. Turn right and continue to Converse. Turn right and go to the visitors' parking lot. News conference is in Building B.
From St. Louis: Cross the Poplar Street Bridge (Interstate 55/70 East) and take the Fourth Street exit. Go past the campus to Broadway. Turn right onto Broadway and go to Eighth Street. Turn right and continue to Converse. Turn right and go to the visitors' parking lot. News conference is in Building B.