GZBF launched its signature program, the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program for academic year 2020-2021. The initial session for the year occurred on August 29, 2020 and keeping with the commitment to the health and safety of the Mentees, Mentors and volunteers, was via a Zoom platform. There were 30 new and returning Mentees, 5 Mentor/Volunteers and 12 Parents of new Mentees. The session began with an orientation for the new and returning Mentees and the parents of New Mentees. During the orientation, Archon Gilbert Holmes, Program Coordinator and Archon Ramsey Jay, Jr., introduced the participants to the goals and expectations of the Program and the calendar for the year.
After the initial orientation program, the Mentees participated in a workshop on Sneaker Design. The speaker was Roosevelt Brown, an award-winning designer and a professor at the Art Center in Pasadena, CA. Mr. Brown spoke about his introduction to a career as a designer. Professor Brown provided instruction for and led the Mentees through a process for developing a design for a sneaker. More than one-half of the Mentees worked on a design of their own choosing and submitted it by email after the session.
During the workshop, Archon Ramsey Jay, Jr. and Therese Dodds, the Chair of the Parents Advisory Auxiliary, provided an orientation to the parents about the Council and the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program Alumni Network. The Parents Advisory Council and the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program Alumni Network are the two new initiatives of the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program. Their mission and purpose are to create a multi-generational village for the support and benefit of the African American young men who come to and through the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program. We call it L.A.M.P. 2.0.
After the workshop, the session moved to breakout rooms where Mentees and a Mentor had a discussion of the recent events, including the George Floyd incident, the shooting of Jacob Blake and the killings by Kyle Rittenhouse. The Mentees had an opportunity to share their thoughts on these events and hear from their peers in a discussion guided by the Mentors in the breakout room. In each room there were 8 Mentees and 2 Mentors.
Finally, as part of the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program technology, Mentees provided a video and a written journal entry on the session. Several Mentees mentioned that the most significant point in the presentation by Professor Brown was the concept of taking advantage of opportunities, even if the opportunity does not look like the one desired. Professor Brown described how some of the opportunities he received did not appear to be what he wanted and turned out to be valuable experiences. Several Mentees mentioned this approach as something they will incorporate in their lives.