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Archive for the ‘male outreach’ Category

Men 12 to 50-plus attended the 5th Annual Keys to Manhood – A Seminar for Men at the St. Petersburg College Allstate Center on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Keys to Manhood2017 - Louis Murphy Jr

The seminar is an inspiring program to prepare men to go from college to successful career.

This year’s event featured breakout sessions on overcoming legal obstacles, athletics as a road to college, a financial literacy clinic, the inspiring story of SPC student Ernest Gant and a career workshop. The event was sponsored by TransAmerica and GTE Financial. Professional football player and noted philanthropist Louis Murphy Jr. provided the keynote address.

During his speech, Murphy touched on many of the challenges in his own life.

In high school, he ranked 32nd among wide receivers, and the coach told Murphy that he would never play. That prompted Murphy to try harder. He looked for football camps and sent out letters and highlight tapes of his plays. He cut yards to pay for college application fees. He talked about the shame of losing his scholarship and the challenge of working his way through college and holding down a job.

“No matter where you are in life, don’t let anyone or anything deter you from your dreams,” Murphy said.

There has never been a more important time to support young men and help them achieve their dreams.

Since 1995, the rate at which men are graduating college is in decline. Men’s participation in the labor force and in the professions are also in decline. According to a 2016 study by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, “prime-age male labor force participation has been falling for more than a century,” and that “men between the ages of 25 and 54 are increasingly disconnected from the labor market.” As low-wage, low-skill jobs disappear to automation and baby boomers move into the retirement, the decline could become a crash. Unemployed men are more likely to suffer from poverty, adverse health and legal difficulties. In contrast, the unemployment rate for college graduates is less than half that of those with only a high school diploma. They will make an average of twice as much in their first weekly check and are more likely to be in a career track job. A strong, supportive community of mentors and peers is key to male academic and professional success.

The connections made at this year’s Keys to Manhood pave the way for a better life. Thanks to the members of Men Achieving Excellence club, college staff and the community, young men who attended Saturday’s event get a chance to start out on the right foot.

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NFL veteran wide receiver Louis Murphy Jr. will give the keynote address at St. Petersburg College’s fifth annual Keys to Manhood – A Seminar for Men. The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 at the SPC Allstate Center, 3200 34th St. S., St. Petersburg. The seminar is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided.

keys-to-manhood-louis-murphyKeys to Manhood features a variety of breakout sessions designed to address issues that may inhibit academic success for male students. They include:

  • Overcoming Legal Obstacles
  • Calling all Athletes
  • From Dropout to Knock
  • Be the King of your Finances
  • Career Decisions

Louis Murphy Jr. is an NFL veteran wide receiver, who is passionate about impacting the lives of youth and ensuring they have an opportunity to learn from his experiences. Louis is often honored for his philanthropic work in the Tampa Bay community, where he has served 5,000+ youth after starting 1st Downs 4 Life. First Downs 4 Life seeks to empower and inspire youth by providing opportunities that assist them in making positive choices.

Register online at www.spcollege.edu/max by Feb. 3. This event is presented by Transamerica.

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“How many of you in here aspire to be rappers or musicians?” asked Holloway in his opening remarks. “If you can recite a rap lyric, you can study. How about ballplayers? If you can remember the stats of the pros, you can tackle math.”

Holloway spoke at length about choices and delved into seven aspects of making them: guilt, excuses, fear, blame, stress, chaos and defeat.

“It all comes down to choices. Do you want to see me or the judge or do you want to be the judge, the doctor or the lawyer?” said Holloway, himself raised by a single mother.

“I’m looking at a lot of leaders in this room,” Holloway said. “You’re here because you made that choice and you want to make a difference in the world.”

The daylong Keys to Manhood conference included breakout sessions aimed at motivating and supporting male students, who are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to attend or graduate from college than their female peers (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014).

Topics at the conference included:

  • Overcoming Legal Obstacles
  • Workforce Degrees
  • The Endangered Male
  • How to Get an “A” in Class
  • Money Management
  • Social Media (How to Get a Job Using Social Media)
  • Second Time Around (non-traditional students)

“This is a great event to hold for young men,” said SPC student Kezra Johnson. “It gives us all these great lessons and morals they can take with them. They may not know where to find certain resources. Here, they don’t have to feel embarrassed about asking for resources or help.”

Past keynote speakers at the event have included Jimmie Lee Solomon, former executive vice president of Major League Baseball, and Florida House Rep. Darryl Rouson.

In his closing comments, Holloway encouraged audience members to always keep others in mind.

“When you succeed, you have to reach back, grab someone and put them on your shoulders so they can pass you,” he said. “If you’re not doing that, you’ll see them on your way down.”

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St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway will give the keynote address at St. Petersburg College’s third annual Keys to Manhood – A Seminar for Men. The event will be:

8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 6
Seminole Campus, Conference Center
9200 113th St. N.

The free seminar is designed to offer male college students tools and resources to help them succeed academically, personally and professionally. Men are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to attend or graduate from college than their female peers (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014).

Over the past three fall terms at St. Petersburg College, male First-Time-In-College (FTIC) students had 8% lower success rates than female FTIC students. Success is defined as earning an A, B or C in a class. During that time, male students had a success rate of 66.3%, while females had a 74.7% success rate in their courses.

Keys to Manhood features a variety of breakout sessions designed to address issues that may inhibit academic success for male students. They include:

  • Overcoming Legal Obstacles
  • Workforce Degrees and Pathways
  • “The Endangered Male”
  • How to Get an “A” in Class
  • Money Management
  • Social Media (How to Get a Job Using Social Media)
  • Second Time Around (non-traditional students)

Past keynote speakers at the event have included Jimmie Lee Solomon, former executive vice president of Major League Baseball, and Florida House Rep. Darryl Rouson.

The event is presented by Transamerica. Download the program.

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March, Rafael Rivera, Mohammed Shaker, Chris Clark.

Pictured above are: Brenton David, Karen Donovan, Jacob Lurvey, David Creighton, Jeffrey Schultz,Jason Hoven, Madeline Rondo,Kristina Phillips, Jeff Thomas, Representative David Jolly, Bill Fleming, Earnest Gant, David Weatherspoon, Tina March, Rafael Rivera, Mohammed Shaker, Chris Clark.

When the new Pinellas Bayway Bridge opened Oct. 17, members of St. Petersburg College’s Student Veterans Association (SVA) and Males Achieving Excellence (MAX) were on hand as volunteers. Festivities included a 5K run, a paddle board flotilla, a pool party, a beach party and a ceremonial lighting of the bridge.

The SVA and MAX volunteers helped set up the beach bash, provided water at the aid stations for the runners, helped with traffic flow, distributed safety lights to the spectators and moved the equipment from the starting line to the finish line before and after race. The race was so successful that plans are already in the works to do it again next year.

The activities were captured by volunteer photographer Charlie Harris, an SVA member from the Clearwater Campus. Check out all the photos in the SVA Facebook gallery.

Fees from the race topped $15,000 and were donated to the Associated Marine Institute Kids, a program that supports troubled children, and to Tampa BayWatch Marine, an organization that protects and restores the Tampa Bay estuaries.

Article courtesy of Rafael Rivera Nieves, CPO, USCG, (ret.)

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Students from the Student Veterans Association (SVA) and Men Achieving eXcellence (MAX) clubs at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus volunteer at the Pinellas Hope Catholic Charities homeless shelter.

Students from the Student Veterans Association and Men Achieving eXcellence clubs at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus volunteer at the Pinellas Hope Catholic Charities homeless shelter.

The Student Veterans Association and Men Achieving eXcellence organizations at St. Petersburg College served those in need at a homeless shelter in Clearwater on Saturday, July 26.

“We got a lot accomplished that day,” said Jeff Thomas, treasurer of the SVA at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus. A group of nine students from the two clubs and MAX’s club advisor volunteered their time to clean the kitchen and spray for bugs at the Pinellas Hope Catholic Charities homeless shelter.

“It was hard manual labor, but we worked as a team and got it done,” Thomas said. “Overall, it was a very successful event.”

Student veteran Christopher Clark said he found the experience initially very shocking.

“When we first got there, we found out how many homeless veterans we have in the area who are living in tents and in some limited facilities,” said Clarke, President of the SVA at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus. “While they didn’t have much, they were giving everything they could to help support us.”

“They were so very appreciative for the help we gave them,” Thomas said. One of the student veterans brought his son with him to volunteer, putting him to work taking out loads of trash.

“I was very proud of our SVA at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus for the way they stepped into the community service role,” said Jeff Cavanagh, Director of Veterans Services at SPC. “They continue to shine for St. Petersburg College in that aspect.”

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Jimmie Lee Solomon spoke at the SPC Seminole Campus on Friday, Jan. 31.

Jimmie Lee Solomon

One person told Jimmie Lee Solomon he could do more than spend his life as an East Texas farmer.

“I was lucky to have a grandfather that told me that I could go to college; I could be a lawyer, a doctor or a preacher,” Solomon said. “That always was the one thing that stuck with me is that somebody told me I could. Everybody told me I couldn’t. But one person said ‘you can’ and that was all I needed to hear.

Solomon went on to graduate from Dartmouth College and Harvard Law and spent a distinguished career as a top executive in Major League Baseball.

On Jan. 31, he told the 162 male college and high school students at St. Petersburg College’s annual Keys to Manhood conference that they, too, can move beyond where they are now. They just have to believe in possibilities, and they have to be bold enough to take a chance.

It’s like playing golf, he said. You can’t wait for the perfect conditions.

“Sometimes, you’ve just got to hit the damn ball. Life is full of shots. Take the shot,” he said. “You’ve got to make a decision to step forward and do it, no matter what you’re burdens are.”

Solomon was the keynote speaker at the second annual conference, which is part of the college’s continuing efforts to prepare all students — especially those who may have challenges to overcome — to be successful in school and in life.

Being a man, Solomon told the group, means:

  • Owning up to your responsibilities.
  • Being accountable for your actions.
  • Seizing opportunities when they arise.
  • Getting an education — whether it’s a certificate, a job-training program or a bachelor’s or graduate degree.
  • Developing employable skills.

He advised them to disregard the media’s portrayal of manhood, which often is negative and encourages poor values and decisions.

“You’ve got to break the conditioning,” he said.

Part of his work with Major League Baseball was to develop programs to help young people in poor, urban neighborhoods break that cycle. He spearheaded the development of Urban Youth Academies in Houston, Compton, Baton Rouge, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. This inner-city program provides youths with professional training for MLB careers — not just on the field, but in professional roles throughout the organization, from groundskeeper through executive.

“You’ve got to get a skill set that allows you an opportunity, a chance to be successful in our society. Without it, you have no chance,” Solomon said. “If you look at the way the world is evolving and at the speed at which technology is taking this world away – if you don’t jump on the merry-go-round now, you’ll have a hard time trying to jump onto it later.”

ManhoodSolomon’s message about being prepared for success and staying focused on education resonated with Charles Bazelais, 17. He traveled with a group of fellow students from Riverside Academy in Tampa to attend the Keys to Manhood event.

“It was really important that he talked about not giving up and staying focused because you see the results of people like him who do stay focused,” said Bazelais, who plans to go on to study real estate at the Gold Coast School of Real Estate in Miami. “I just gotta stay focused and finish school.”

Solomon shared a personal story about his path to manhood. When he was a young lawyer, Solomon visited his hometown to speak about his success to students at a local school. After the speech, by accident, he met Tricia, his 12-year-old daughter that he didn’t know existed. When he realized she was at risk, living with her maternal grandmother in poverty, he decided to invite her to stay with him.

“I brought my daughter in to live with me less than a year after I met her,” he said. Although it uprooted his plans for his career, he recognized his responsibilities and was willing to do what was best for his daughter.

“It was important for me to recognize my priorities as a man and what manhood meant to me,” Solomon said. Manhood didn’t mean getting rich; it meant developing character. Making the decision to do what you say you will do and put others first.

“It meant setting my needs on the back burner and helping a young person figure out what she needed in order to be successful,” he said. His daughter, now in her 30s, went on to graduate from George Washington University and is now a successful attorney in Atlanta, Ga.

Solomon shares this story to help young men understand that his personal and professional success, as well as his daughter’s, is due to education and a willingness to embrace his idea of manhood.

“It changed her life and it changed mine,” he said. “It made me understand my place in society, and it made me understand the need to give back. It made me understand the need to get involved in others’ lives.”

You can watch his entire presentation here:


See more photos from the event on the college’s Facebook page.

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