Americans are aware that February is designated as Black History Month. As a Black American I celebrate the life and history of Black Americans whenever I can. For the month of February, however, I make a concerted effort to do even more. My special interest is involvement with youth and women.
This year, as part of a program with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, I became involved with Emma Booker Elementary School, Sarasota, FL. I had the opportunity to spend more than an hour during the school day with 45 fifth- grade girls. It was an exciting experience. Initially. I was not sure what to expect. As I have been told by people who deal with this age group on a regular basis, that is an age where girls, in particular don’t like much of anything, including themselves. Fortunately I did not get than impression from these girls.
My intent for the time I spent with them was to discuss that they can succeed in life regardless of where they live, who their parents are or whatever hardships they may have experienced. As a point of departure, I shared one of my favorite quotes by Mark Caine who said: “The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you find yourself.”
I shared with them experiences from my life when my environment did not seem to be one which promoted success, but I refused to allow those environments to determine my future. It is easy to give up in unpleasant situations instead of working to change the situation or remove yourself from that environment.
In addition to the time I spent with the girls, again as a part of the Associations’ program, I along with 27 other adults participated in a READ IN day with students K-5th grade. This was an all day program where the adults read to all classes on a rotating basis. The books, about African Americans, were selected by the school and were grade appropriate. The adults had some flexibility in how they used the time they had in the classroom; some brought prompts and some did experiments. I had very inquisitive, attentive students whom I felt gained from my experiences and I gained from their sharing.
Causes Lillian Lambert Supports
American Cancer Society, American Heart Assn, Howard Universit, Impact 100 of Richmond