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Author Archives: WSS News

First Annual Black History Month Presentations and Performances at Three San Bernardino County Schools

black-history-month-1Valley Star Community Services is pleased to invite the community to its first annual Black History Month presentations at three different schools in the San Bernardino Unified School District from February 25-27. This program is being offered as part of a contract with the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health to promote resiliency among African-American students and their families. Services are funded through the Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63).

Students will perform African dances in traditional attire that were choreographed by “Sista” Jewel Jackson, the choreographer for Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams and a professor at Cal Poly Pomona. Reverend Dennis Morgan Brown will perform an oratory of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Black Voice will have an African-American artifacts show as well.  The students will also share more about the inventors, educators and scientists that they have learned about.

The schedule for the program is: Wednesday February 25, at 2:30 p.m. at Del Rosa Elementary School, 3395 Mountain Ave, San Bernardino; Thursday, February 26, at 10:00 a.m. at Jones Elementary, 700 N. F Street, San Bernardino; and Friday February 27, at 9:30 a.m. at Hunts Elementary, 1342 Pumalo Street in San Bernardino.

“We look forward to continuing our great relationships with these schools, parents and students and rewarding them with a day of pride and recognition for their hard work,” said Wandalyn Lane, Program Manager of the Promoting Resiliency in African American Children (PRAAC) program.  PRAAC has served more than 500 youth in its first year. “This program is making a difference in kids’ lives.  I had one girl tell me that this program is making a big difference for Black kids like her younger brother and that she wished there was a program like this when she was in school.”

For more information about the Black History Month programs through PRAAC, call (909) 388-2222 or 711 for TTY users.  Valley Star is a program of Stars Behavioral Health Group:  www.starsinc.com

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority 26th Oratorical Competition Awards Area Young Scholars

L/R Grade School: Mr. Kevin Hall (President), Devorlyn Celestine (Vice President), Robert Hawkins, , Jerimiah Ingram, Lanah Boyd, Lorelei Hartman,  Lawson Bush (3rd Place),  Morgan Hawkins, Jayla Ingram (1st Place ),  Aisa Ingram, Asia Ingram (2nd Place), Twillea Evans-Carthen (Co-Chair), and Kevin Eastman (Co-Chair)

L/R Grade School: Mr. Kevin Hall (President), Devorlyn Celestine (Vice President), Robert Hawkins, , Jerimiah Ingram, Lanah Boyd, Lorelei Hartman, Lawson Bush (3rd Place), Morgan Hawkins, Jayla Ingram (1st Place ), Aisa Ingram, Asia Ingram (2nd Place), Twillea Evans-Carthen (Co-Chair), and Kevin Eastman (Co-Chair)

FONTANA, CA- On a beautiful sunny Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2015, high school scholars eloquently moved the crowd at Jurupa Hills High School, Fontana, CA with their thought on “major issues students face related to educational achievements in light of the staggering dropout rates among today’s students” at the 26th Annual Oratorical Contest sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Mu Xi Lambda Chapter and Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc. Eta Nu Omega Chapter.  Mr. Kevin Eastman, Mu Xi Lambda Chapter and Ms. Twillea Evans-Carthen, co-chaired this event and created a festive atmosphere by including Mr. Aaron Lash Jr. a Senior at California State University San Bernardino to inspire all through Spoken Word poetry and a pizza party as the participants awaited for the announcement of the awards.  Young scholars took part in this competition too ranging from 1st through 8th graders who were passionate with their response to “Why is education important to your future?”

1st Place: Khari Bush, Sr. Carter High School

1st Place: Khari Bush, Sr. Carter High School

This annual speech contest provides the opportunity for students grades first through twelfth to have a platform to enhance their public speaking skills, promote self-confidence, educational enrichment, and to further facilitate character building in a safe environment. This contest was developed under “The Belford V. Lawson Oratorical Contest, and uses the International Toastmasters Guidelines.”

Winners for the following categories were: Group 1 (1st through 5th) 1st Place – Jayla Ingram; 2nd Place – Asia Ingram and 3rd Place – Lawson Bush. Group 2 (6th through 8th) 1st Place – Emma Jean Gilliam, 2nd Place – Kiana Martinez, 3rd Place – Isaiah Keaton.  Group 3 (9th through 12th) 1st Place – Khari Bush, 2nd Place – Brandon Watts, 3rd Place – Kevin Jackson.

L/R Middle School and High School: Mr. Kevin Hall (President), Devorlyn Celestine (Vice President), Kiana Martinez (2nd Place MS), Khari Bush (1st Place HS), Brandon Watts (2nd Place HS), Justine Lee, Emma Jean Gilliam (1st Place MS), Kevin Jackson (3rd Place HS), Taya Ingram, Kelechi Okoro, Kamilah McMillon, Isaiah Keaton (3rd Place MS), Twillea Evans-Carthen (Co-Chair), and Kevin Eastman (Co-Chair)

L/R Middle School and High School: Mr. Kevin Hall (President), Devorlyn Celestine (Vice President), Kiana Martinez (2nd Place MS), Khari Bush (1st Place HS), Brandon Watts (2nd Place HS), Justine Lee, Emma Jean Gilliam (1st Place MS), Kevin Jackson (3rd Place HS), Taya Ingram, Kelechi Okoro, Kamilah McMillon, Isaiah Keaton (3rd Place MS), Twillea Evans-Carthen (Co-Chair), and Kevin Eastman (Co-Chair)

 

Interview with Corey Benjamin: Former NBA Basketball player

IMG_9685By Nia Turner Moreno 

Where are you currently living at?

San Bernardino County, CA

Growing up did you ever think that you would play for the NBA?

Yes, that was my main goal in life. As a kid I used to dream of playing for the Chicago Bulls. I used to dream I was Michael Jordan when I was younger. And my dream came true because I actually was able to play with him when I joined the Chicago Bulls.

How old where you when you started playing basketball?

When I first picked up a ball and started playing I was 4 years old. I was going to Oregon State for 2 years, and I got drafted at 20 years old.

What did you like most about playing for the NBA and what did you like least?

There was really nothing that I liked least about playing for the NBA. Dreams come true so for me being in the NBA was an accomplishment

Do you still play basketball in your free time?

No, I don’t play, but I’m a basketball trainer for the Inland Empire. I train kids at Etiwanda High School and Fontana High School and middle schools in San Bernardino County. I’m also a mentor for nine Elementary Schools.

What have you been doing since you retired?

I’m a role model in our community and I have personal relationships with young boys and girls. There’s a lot of kids out there that need a good mentor. I’m a mentor for a lot in the San Bernardino community, especially the youth that are going off to college. I do my best to be there for them. Growing up in the environment I lived in, I didn’t have any good role models or guides to help me, so I pretty much just had to find my own way. I want these kids to have some kind of help; someone to set a good example for them.

Do you have any other hobbies beside basketball?

I fish when I have free time and I love spending time with my family and being a father to my five kids, 4 girls 1 boy. I’m busy most of the time, so it’s nice to spend time with them. Family is a very important part in my life.act_corey_benjamin

Is “Basketball Legende” still an ongoing program for the youth?

That’s the name of my program for the kids in the community. Legende is Legends in French. I played overseas in France and I like to incorporate my professional basketball background into the things I do now. A part of the things I do in the program is basketball training and I talk to the kids about keeping up good grades, as well because that’s a big part of playing basketball.

What would you say to the youth or anyone that is striving to reach their goals?

I tell all the kids that “dreams do come true it all starts with yourself”. Work hard, the harder you believe in your goal, whatever your goal is it can come true. What I tell my kids is if you want to be a doctor, find the best doctor there is and apply that to yourself. If you want to be a basketball player find the best basketball player there is and apply that to yourself.  Whatever it is that person did to make it where they’re at, apply it to the qualities that you already have. You have to put your goals first. Life is like a merry go round you’re up, you’re down; you’re not always going to be happy but you just have to believe in your goals if that’s what you want. There are other programs out there to help young kids, but if I can also help them that’s what I’m going to do. Kids are our future so I do my best to help out.

Is there anything else that I might have left out that you would like for people to know about you?

I’m a mentor. I’m a trainer. I’m a life coach. I speak for D.A.R.E programs, high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. I consider myself a disciple; I’m one of God’ called people.