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Inland Empire Community Adopts the “Village” Concept for Their High School Students

IEABSE college reveal

FONTANA, CA- A morning full of inspirational family support, community pride and student celebration. The Inland Empire Alliance of Black School Educators (IEABSE) presented “It Takes a Village” 2016 Scholarship Celebration on Saturday April 16 at the Jessie Turner Health and Fitness Center in Fontana. With the room filled to capacity, over forty scholarships were awarded to Inland Empire High School students for their academic achievements, community service, perseverance and leadership. This event was sponsored by Black Voice Foundation and New Life Christian Church. The scholarship donors were comprised of local organizations and businesses as well as individuals who desire to see Inland Empire students thrive in their educational aspirations. Long time scholarship donor Dina Walker, President of BLU Educational Foundation, stated “Saturday’s ceremony was philanthropy at its best! We see businesses, community, faith-based organizations and individuals contributing to secure the educational futures of our children”.

Mayor Acquanetta Warren of Fontana welcomed the audience to the growing city of Fontana and gave an encouraging message that focused on working together as a community to use education as a tool to attract resources to the Inland Empire region. The highlight of the morning was a series of what IEABSE has coined the “Reveals”. This is a similar process to when a student athlete selects their college choice on national signing day. IEABSE highlighted five stellar students from the entire group of scholarship awardees. Each student was joined on stage by family members and their most influential educators. On the table were their top four college considerations. Their parents began by talking about their children’s challenges, achievements and special qualities. In the short time the parents spoke the audience had an opportunity to peer into the lives of the students and identify with the awesome importance of their future educational decisions. As the anticipation rose to a height, the student was given the microphone and either unrolled a diploma or reported their choice to and audience of cheers.  Audience members were both impressed and inspired. “This was an epic and historic celebration of black youth achievement in the classroom, in life and at play. I found the entire experience moving, inclusive, & inspirational celebration of black youth achievement.” Rev Benita Ramsey, Jordan- Rustin Social Justice fund.

IEABSE board with checks

IEABSE board with checks

Inland Empire high school administrators, teachers, coaches and counselors were also on hand to encourage their students and celebrate in their triumphs. “The reveals were exceptional, allowing both parents and students to speak and key supporters to be acknowledged” Linda Wing, Ph.D. Chief of Information and Accountability. Rancho Cucamonga High School, Arlington High School and Summit High School seniors walked away with fifteen of the forty-three scholarship opportunities. The goal of the Scholarship Celebration was to offer family members, educators and community members an opportunity to celebrate and focus on the accomplishments of local African American students. The ceremony left students motivated, parents hopeful, and donors reassured.  Gwen Dowdy-Rodgers, Founder, Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation (YWE) and parent of a prior recipient declared “With so many of our students needing educational support Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation was happy to be able to provide a deserving student a scholarship thanks to IEABE’s community outreach”.

The Scholarship Celebration precedes the IEABSE annually hosted Inland Empire High School Black Graduation Recognition Ceremony (I.E. Black Grad). The I.E. Black Grad is the largest High School Black Graduation Recognition Ceremony in Southern CA and will be held May 14th, 2016, on campus at California State University, San Bernardino, where over two thousand individuals are expected to attend. For more information please contact IEABSE directly at ieabse@gmail.com.

What it do with LUE: Alive in the Lights

Alive in the Lights

Alive in the Lights

By Lue Dowdy

All Female Youth rock band “Alive in the Lights” is WHAT IT DO WITH THE LUE this week. OMG! OMG! When you talk about talented youth right here in the Inland Empire, Richardson Prep High is bringing up contenders in a real way. I had the opportunity to hear and watch this group rock out at several community events. From the first time I saw them I was hooked. Each one can sing and play. The girls show no fear when performing, they bring the HEAT.

Alive in the Lights is a five piece all girl rock band with members ages 16 to 19. The group was originally a three-member group formed as a small project at Richardson Prep High in San Bernardino. This group originally performed primarily acoustic rock and featured Madelyn Porras (age 17) as a vocalist, guitarist and pianist; Simmy Grewal (age 16) on bass and vocals; and Amanda Martinez (age 16) on keyboards and vocals. After an extensive search, Alive in the Lights really came together when joined by local rockers, drummer Elita Barus (age 18) from Citrus Valley High, and lead guitarist, Alex Padilla (age 19).

Since their formation in 2013, Alive in the Lights has written and produced several original songs and has played numerous high energy shows at venues such as Knott’s Berry Farm, Disney California Adventure, the House of Blues, the Glass House, Chain Reaction, Raging Waters, Cal State San Bernardino and the Lake Arrowhead Summer Concert series. In addition to these professional shows, Alive in the Lights plays at 10 to 15 charity events per year.

Their first EP, “Contradictions,” was released in October 2015 and their first professional music video, “Tongue Tied,” was released just months later. The girls have their sights set on even bigger shows this year and are currently working on their second EP and music video.  This young and extremely talented group is one to watch in 2016.

The group is available for booking. So please do ya girl a favor and check out their music. I predict that these ladies are going to go all the way to the TOP. Until next week L’z and San Bernardino Strong!

A Night to Remember

Time For Change Gala

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- It was a night of glitz and glam as Time for Change Foundation (TFCF) held their 13th Annual Star Studded Awards Gala to recognize unsung community heroes, and to celebrate their success in helping over 850 homeless women and children reach self-sufficiency over the last 14 years.

The night began on the red carpet where guests stopped to strike a pose followed by comedic opening remarks from Mistress of Ceremonies Actress/Comedienne Kim Coles. “I thought Time for Change meant menopause.”

6ef695b0-241c-41dc-b2a4-b9cb81ce0517The room was filled with elected officials, law enforcement, school board members, local businesses, and community organizations throughout the region. Special guest celebrity Taylor Schilling, actress of the hit Netflix show Orange is the New Black, dazzled the room with her acceptance of TFCF’s first ever “Acting for Change” Award.

Other awe-inspiring community heroes recognized included: Kim & Tommy Morrow with the Hometown Media Heroes Award, Dr. Tomás D. Morales with the Community Education Champion Award, SB Strong First Responders with the Ramos Family Spirit of Compassion Award, the Black Chamber of Commerce Inland Empire & the Greater Riverside Hispanic Chamber of Commerce with the Community Chamber Champions Award, Dr. Dale Marsden & Dr. Harold Vollkommer with the Public Education Dynamic Duo Award, Caliber Collision with the Community Business Leader of the Year Award, Senator Connie Leyva with the Public Service Champion Award, Manal Iskander with the Community Champion Award, and Alaina Mathews with the Humanitarian of the Year Award.

TFCF’s track record proves that consistent efforts, compassion and evidence based programs can transform the lives of homeless women and children and put an permanent end to their cycle of homelessness. However, they know that the work that they do is a community effort.

You can join in the efforts to end homelessness today by supporting the mission of TFCF  by making a financial contribution. For additional information, please visit our website www.TimeForChangeFoundation.org or call us at (909) 886-2994.