LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Black Achievers Program is known for its impact in the lives of local children, from spring break college tours, community service projects, leadership training, ACT workshops and more.
Seeing it and believing it was the example displayed at the Black Achievers workshop on Saturday at the Chestnut Street YMCA.
“To see people who look like us in the jobs we want to be in,” Black Achiever of the Year Tajalia Tillman said. “Because I feel like that gives us an extra push and urge and a feel to want to keep succeeding and succeeding.”
The program keeps students on the path to success through guidance and mentors that relate to them. The results are evident in the bilingual future neuroscientist.
"I would have been less confident in myself being in this program has given me confidence to want to strive for my goals because it’s important to see somebody who looks like you especially in the field you want to go in,” 18-year-old Tillman said.
At the workshop, students built towers as they would if they decided to be engineers and had discussions and debates practicing for a possible political career path. The educational support and communication workshops helped launch Class of 1985 achiever Felicia Barr into her leadership role on the other side of the achievers’ roster.
"As a result of getting help myself, it was obvious I needed to give back at this capacity,” Barr said. “By the time they complete the program they are confident, they are certain that they can achieve and they know without a shadow of a doubt that they can actually grow up to be somebody in order to help somebody else along the way.”
The achieving third-party sticks with students through adulthood and propels children to fulfill achievements they were destined for all while watching others in their community leading the way.
"We know you hear from your mom, dad, grandma and aunt, but sometimes it’s that third-party that hits it, reinforces it,” Barr said.
Participants are from throughout JCPS, Shelby County and southern Indiana. These are the last regular sessions before the achiever’s big annual event the 41st YMCA Black Achievers Celebration to help provide college scholarships.
The organization raises about $1 million every year for college scholarships.