Exposure is one thing- Influence is another- Bea Street (my mama)….

Since 2006 BTGMP has exposed and influenced our students to be successful through our Community Professional (CP) Meetings as we bring successful professionals that are doing what our students dream to do. Students are given the opportunity to hear accounts of perseverance; to discuss college prep, setting and obtaining goals. Our next CP Meeting will be on Saturday October 29th from 10am-12pm, 3201 Old Denton Rd, Carrollton, TX.

Confirmed Speakers
Angela Thomas
Ashley Wilkerson
Camille Cooksey
Candace Clark
Dee Clark
D'Orsey Hardy
Linda Eberendu
Herbert Smith
Jacqueline Brown
Jewel Brodie
Joe James
Justin McIntosh
Kenny Masenda
Larry Yarrell
Matt Houston
Rica Burgess
Rontear Farmer
Terrence Maiden

Goal setting session to be lead by Angela Restivo

We are asking that all attendees and guests bring books to donate to our book drive. We will start at 10am so please be on time. As usual, food will be served and there will be door prizes and gift bags! LETS BRIDGE THE GAP!!!!!

CP Meeting
Date: October 29th
Time: 10am-12pm
Place: 3201 Old Denton Rd, Carrollton, TX

On Monday and Tuesday our World History classes will be taking a test over imperialism, specifically its affect on the continent of Africa. I remember having a discussion with one of my teacher besties (one of the best Social Studies teachers on the planet) and she said the worst thing to happen to Africa was imperialism. The continent has given the world so much and yet it suffers so much more.

Through BTGMP’s Black History Plays, I try to explain pre-imperialism Africa. All of our students should know how wonderful Africa had been so that they understand it is all of our duty to help this continent. Even today, there is growth and a wonderfullness of Africa that no one speaks of. So I think if nothing else, WE OWE AFRICA.

We owe Africa a better image or brand
According to Simon Anholt, the branding guru of the world and also that author of Brand America, the most important thing, the most valuable treasure a country can have is its public image. And its image depends on a countries ability to “develop the systems, strategies and structures to enable it to produce a constant stream of dramatic evidence that it deserves the image it has”. So as an African ask yourself, what dramatic images has your country been producing lately? As an outsider ask yourself, what dramatic evidence has changed your perception of Africa?- Bongani Ncube, from the Global Changemaker site. Click the link to read more.

About the pic…
Celeberties are coming together again for the clever I AM AFRICAN campaign to bring attention to the AIDS epidemic in Africa. The idea I AM AFRICAN should resonate with ALL of us- not just black people. This statement simply means that we are humans and that to end the suffering of one helps us all!

My hope is that BTGMP kiddos will become so global minded that when they are my age, they can talk about their trips AROUND the world and maybe be planning their 3rd trip to Morocco, or South Africa, or Nigeria or Mozambique!

New Math
Beauty + Brains = Sheena Harrison

A shy, only child from Fenton, Michigan followed her dreams and is a Business Reporter for the Toledo Blade.

Growing up, Ms. Sheena Harrison experienced being bullied and ostracized quite a bit by her classmates because many of the people who lived in her neighborhood were not friendly to people of color. This made her an extremely shy person by the time she graduated from high school. Eventually, Sheena had to overcome her shyness so that she could reach her dream and become a reporter.

She attributes her college experience as a confidence booster, as she became involved in campus organizations, such as the school newspaper, student government and Black Student Alliance. Being involved helped her develop leadership skills and she met other students that shared her same interests.

Sheena is proof that you can overcome any obstacle. Stay focused on your goals, stay involved and in doing so, you will realize your dreams!

Top 2011 Scholarships For Black Students

The following list and even more scholarships can be found on


AARP Foundation Women’s Scholarship Program
For women 40+ seeking new job skills, training and educational opportunities to support themselves.

Academic Competitiveness Grant
For first-year and second-year college students who graduated from high school.

Actuarial Diversity Scholarship
For minority students pursuing a degree that may lead to a career in the actuarial profession.

Akash Kuruvilla Memorial Scholarship Fund
For students who demonstrate excellence in leadership, diversity, integrity and academia.

American Copy Editors Society Scholarship
Available to junior, senior and graduate students who will take full-time copy editing jobs or internships.

AORN Foundation Scholarship
For students studying to be nurses and perioperative nurses pursuing undergrad and grad degrees.

Automotive Hall of Fame Scholarship
For students who indicate a sincere interest in an automotive related career.

AWG Minority Scholarship For Women
Encourages young minority women to pursue an education and later a career in the geosciences.

AXA Achievements Scholarship
Provides more than $600K in annual scholarships to 52 students - one from each state.


Beacon Partners Healthcare IT Scholarships
Awarded to a student pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in the IT Healthcare field.

Best Buy Scholarship
For students in grades 9-12 who plan to enter a full-time undergraduate program upon high school graduation.

Burger King Scholars Program
For high school seniors who have part-time jobs and excel academically in school.


CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program
Developed to assist minority and disabled students, but open to all who meet the requirements.

Coca-Cola Scholars Program
Four-year achievement-based scholarships given to 250 high school seniors each year.


Davidson Fellows Scholarship
Recognizes and awards the extraordinary who excel in math, science, and technology.

Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund
Need-based scholarships for college students are part of the progressive movement in their community.

Dell Scholars Program
For students who demonstrate a desire and ability to overcome barriers and achieve their goals.

According to the 2009 McKinsey report on education, “If the US had in recent years closed the gap between its educaional levels… GDP in 2008 could have been $1.3 trillion to $2.3 trillion higher…” The American education crisis is the economic crisis. You don’t have to care- that is your choice- but you will pay for it.
—  Dr. Steve Perry, PUSH HAS COME TO SHOVE
Watch on

By Mary E. O’Leary, Topics Editor / Twitter: @nhrmoleary

NEW HAVEN — From the reaction of the audience at a packed Shubert Theatre Saturday, the NAACP Great Debate 2012 was, well, great.

For the fourth year in a row, the Connecticut NAACP sponsored a formal parliamentary debate between one of the traditional black colleges or universities and the Ivy League.

This year, it was Morehouse College and Yale University and the first of two debates took on the controversial topic of stand your ground laws that allow someone who feels physically threatened to shoot to protect themselves.

It most recently involved the case of Trayvon Martin, who was killed by George Zimmerman, in a gated community in Florida. Three months after the incident and following national protests, Zimmerman was arrested and charged in the killing.

It was moderated by Marc Lamont Hill, a commentator on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News as a regular guest of The O’Reilly Factor. He said he was impressed that the theater was filled with young people “excited not just about sports, not what someone did on Twitter or Facebook, not just some celebrity gossip, but to see people excited about ideas. … It is something that gives me hope that this nation and this community can move further to a new space in life, that we can grow and mature politically.”

Both Morehouse and Yale are winning debate teams, with Morehouse ranked first overall for this season.

Scott Esdaile, president of Connecticut NAACP, said black colleges have a long history of great debaters, including Martin Luther King Jr.

The debate on stand your ground went back and forth with the Yale team arguing in the affirmative that these laws have been abused, but give power to people genuinely threatened to be able to protect themselves and ultimately they will lower the level of violence in this country.
Morehouse said the laws abbrogate the power of the courts and are fundamentally flawed, not just by the racism of some of those who use it kill.

Hill complimented the young men who made their points in the two hour-long event, pointing out they were prepared to argue either side with the same command of the facts and ability to convince people, an important skill in a democracy.

Esdaile said students from around the state and New York were at the popular event.

There are a few things my biological brother gave me: my love of hip hop, art and comic books. My brother still collects comic books and he always instilled the importance of collecting those series whose hero was of color. Years ago, many - many years ago, I remember him showing me The Boondocks comic strip- yes comic strip. It was exciting to see Huey, he looked like us and thought like us—- it is rare to have that image in most media forms. Later, Boondocks became an animated hit TV show. One of BTGMP’s goal is to expose students to many things but especially shedding light on different career paths. It is important that we give that to our youth because it is challenging to be what you have never seen. So this month BTGMP is highlighting Community Professionals that break the mold and debunk all stereotypes. Our first highlighted Community Professional is Mr. LeSean Thomas.

Industry: Arts
Occupation: Animation Director/Producer/Illustrator
From: South Bronx, South Korea, Hollywood

Illustrator, Producer, Director, Writer, LeSean Thomas work includes the Peabody Award-winning animated series, “THE BOONDOCKS,” (Co-Director/ Supervising Character Designer). Thomas has worked for companies that have taken him all over, from Hollywood to South Korea ; Cartoon Network, Warner Bros, Sony Animation, JM Animation (Rok), Studio Mir (Rok), MOI Animation . He currently works at TITMOUSE Inc Animation as a Producer/ Director for “BLACK DYNAMITE: THE ANIMATED SERIES”. LeSean’s work expresses his desire to give media another idea of what protagonists and heroes look like. Our youth need to see TV shows, movies and yes, comic book heroes that mirror themselves and the world in which we live. Out of all his accolades and ground breaking work, one thing stands out and that is LeSean’s desire to encourage students, that are like him, to pursue their love of animation and art.

Thanks LeSean Thomas for breaking stereotypes and giving our youth another image… He spoke at TEDxSinchon about Failing Your Way To Success. Please click the link below and watch.

Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, one of the most notable marriages of our time, share a little knowledge about love.

“How to ride the rough waves in a relation long enough for the waters to get calm? When does it sink in that overcoming difficult times gets easier with practice? How do you drag some of the good feelings, good times vibrations into the stormy places? To love someone long and deep is a "consummation devoutly to be wished”!… It is day by day, one step at a time. - Ruby Dee

Love yourselves, love those around you and Happy Valentine’s Day to all!!

Ambit Energy has partnered with BTGMP to help this organization be able to continue the valuable work and commitment to our youth in our community and help people save money on their energy bill. It is simple…you upgrade your service to Ambit Energy and Ambit will make a donation directly to BTGMP.

LETS ENERGIZE OUR YOUTH! Click the pic, contact Brian Dockery (an Ambit Regional Consultant) and don’t forget to mention Bridging the Gap…

Your son has a 0.03% chance of playin in the NBA & a 0.08% chance of playing in the NFL. Get him some books- Michael McDonald

This year BTGMP is encouraging a literate mind by providing books for and pushing our kiddos to read. Helping us to encourage reading is Mr. Kenny Masenda. Kenny Masenda is not just an avid reader, he is also a great writer (prose and poetry), and an Academic Adviser for student athletes at Tyler Junior College. He is the reason why our students will have an extensive list of books to choose from this year and the reason why BTGMP will challenge our young men to read Forty Million Dollar Slaves.

If you know Kenny, you know his head is always in a book or he is heading to Rudy’s to satisfy his need for whatever it is they serve, but most importantly he is a lover of sports. He has channeled this love of both writing and sports to being the Senior Editor for ETSF (Ed The Sports Fan). ETSF is an online editorial blogzine which covers all walks of sport. An award winning blog started by Eddie Maisonet III, has now expanded to an online talk show that allows fans and athletes to talk sports.

When asked about how he endures trials and tribulations, Kenny said- over time, you just learn how to adjust to any situation, have fun with it (even when there doesn’t seem like much to have fun with or be happy about.) Enjoy the moment as much as possible, smile all the time, be kind to people, just because it’s the right thing to do. That’s one of the best ways to deal with trials and tribulations life throws your way.

We look forward to Kenny being a part of another Community Professional meeting again. Who knows, he may come to a CHS Friday Night Football game.

Summer Residency Program:

The DFW Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants, (NABA), Southern Methodist University (SMU), and the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) will sponsor the Accounting Career Awareness Program (ACAP) during the week of June 12 - 17, 2011 on the campus of SMU in Dallas, TX and UTD in Richardson, TX.

The SMU site will focus on high school juniors and seniors, while the UTD site will focus on high school freshmen and sophomores. Applications must be received and/or postmarked by April 15, 2011 (No exceptions). Interviews will be conducted on April 30 and May 7, 2011. Students selected for ACAP will be notified no later than May 20, 2011. Go to and click on ACAP/Scholarships to download the application and additional information. Contact Bro. Odell Brown for further details (214-212-9374 or .

Times Ten Cellars- Dallas

Award winning non profit youth mentoring organization, Bridging The Gap Mentoring Program Inc. (BTGMP), will host “Love. Art. Music” their second annual fundraising event on Thursday April 25 at Times Ten Cellars. This awesome event is a celebration of Art Education and will attract a professional crowd of philanthropists, educators, media, artists and local influencers. “Love. Art. Music.” will honor Principals Nakia Douglas and Michelle Neely with BTGMP’s “Spirit Award”, for their awesome work in education. The evening will showcase local artists and student art-work from area schools - come join us.

Fun Fun Fun things happening in the DFW area this summer for teens! For example, Kamp Woof a one week camp for all things fashion at Macy’s Galleria starts this Monday. Click the link or photo to find out about other wonderful fun for teens this summer in the DFW.

BTGMP will have this fun, parent- centered meeting to inform you about all the ways you can get your kiddos through high school and on their way to college. We will provide you with a complimentary Parent Package, full of information that will walk you step by step as to how to prepare your child for a successful academic career. There will be experts on hand to answer questions, as well as drink, food specials and great music. Let BTGMP lighten your load! See you August 28th!
Sankofa Kafe Addison from 3-7
for information about Sankofa go to

Mizz Reno… Making Philanthropy Cool

It is important that BTGMP members and children in general know they are not alone and the problems they go through are the very same issues others have endured. Being in education for over 11 years, I was often amazed at how strong students can be and how important a ‘tangible hope’ for a better future is to them. That is partly why BTGMP has Community Professional Meetings in which professionals can come and talk to students about how to tackle those trials and tribulations.

During the month of August, BTGMP plans to highlight some young professionals who have demonstrated great personal strength and make it a point to give back to their communities. BTGMP is just as committed to helping facilitate learning as we are of giving students opportunities to give back. Our first professional is an active member of Urban League of Greater Dallas YP , who has a touching testimony that will move even the hardest of hearts. Please read and share the story of a great giving heart, Mizz Reno.

Frances Reno, at a very young age, is already an accomplished professional as she has earned awards from her former and current companies Macy’s and JC Penney. A graduate of Mizzou, she is currently a Sourcing Manager at JC Penney, a job that has afforded her the ability to travel around the world.

That being said, I asked Mizz Reno to give us some insight on how she overcame many trials in her childhood that influenced her to become such a giving adult.

In her words…

I come from a blended family; my Uncle raised me from the age of 2 and I reference he & his wife as my parents. I do not know my biological father & witnessed my biological mother go through many life challenges that caused her to become mentally ill and very sick…I laid her to rest last year. Currently, I watch my sister deal with the same struggles that entangled my mother. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t remind myself of how blessed I am to have an uncle and aunt to raise me as their own so that I might have a chance to succeed. To think about life otherwise is very daunting. I try not to complain about my life no matter the obstacle. I often say the church phrase “It could have been me” is my testimony.

People are always surprised to hear my story… They always say, “they would have never guessed.” To that I respond, you can’t read a book by its cover or one never knows what another has gone through. This is why I give back because I know there are people who were not as fortunate as me to have family to take them in. Life’s perils got the best of them, there was no support and so the downward spiral begins. However, people can have happy endings, even if life doesn’t start off that way. Last fall I took a 10 city tour around Asia with my company to conduct business and during the moments that I had to myself, I reflected on my life and again reminded myself, I am so blessed.

It is my hope that BTGMP members and the work BTGMP does become examples of what philanthropy really is. Please consider donating to BTGMP to aid in all of our community service efforts.

For the past few weeks I have been asked to share more scholarship and grant information. So here are the TOP 20 Sites For Scholarships. Please note the pic above. Local and school scholarships are also important so do not forget to research them as well.