International College Joins NAACP of Collier County to Offer Summer Youth Program

International College’s North Naples campus will host a summer youth program in partnership with the NAACP of Collier County June 11-August 8.

About 15 International College faculty and staff will volunteer their time to teach the workshops, which will be divided into four groups according to age. A total of 40 students ranging in ages from 12 to 18 will participate in the youth program. Twenty youth reside in the Golden Gate/River Park area; the other 20 live in Immokalee. The workshops will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays over the 9-week period.

Workshops will have a different topic each week, covering math, writing, computer and life skills. The workshops will be offered to youth at no cost.

Jim Lancaster, a member of Collier County’s NAACP executive committee, said an educational summer youth program is a critical offering.

“These children usually have an unstructured summer with little to do but hang out,” Lancaster said. “Some of these youth have never thought about going to college. Some think college is beyond their reach. Our hope is that the exposure to a college campus and faculty will give them the motivation to want to go onto college after high school.”

To provide an additional incentive to students participating in this program, the College is extending a scholarship opportunity through its CHANCE program. This program provides students who meet specific qualifications the opportunity to attend International College on a full tuition scholarship for either an associate degree program or a bachelor degree program.

Though the long-term goal may be for students to seek higher learning, the short-term goal is to keep them in school and help them strengthen skills in reading, writing and math as well as attain new skills in computer applications and improve their self-image.

“This summer program fits right in with International College’s commitment to be an educational resource for the Southwest region of Florida by providing programs and services to the community,” said Jeanette Brock, J.D., Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs.

International College recognizes the need for a proactive initiative to reach out to special populations. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the number of Hispanic and black youth in grades 10-12 who drop out continues to increase. In 2000, the dropout rate for Hispanics was 7.4 percent and 6.1 percent for blacks, compared to 4.1 percent for Caucasians and 3.5 percent for Asian/Pacific Islanders.

NAACP youth coordinator Dalton Whittaker and QUEST for Kids student program coordinator Sharon Franklin worked with International College to make sure the workshops will be beneficial to the students. The Community Foundation of Collier County provided a grant to the program for transportation.

International College faculty and staff plan on making the workshop fun yet practical. For example, the math skills workshop will teach students how to balance a checkbook, maintain a household budget, calculate interest payments and do basic taxes. Writing workshops will incorporate the five senses to get students to create projects that display their ideas, knowledge and creative talents, and life skills workshops will use traditional and new methods to get students to become more effective communicators.

“It’s so wonderful that International College is offering a much-needed program like this for our young people,” Whittaker said. “I hope this program helps them achieve excellence in their academic studies, builds their self esteem and motivates them to become competent leaders in the future.”
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