Scholars program looks to expand

Richard Watts

Scholars program looks to expand
September 28
04:00 2017


At a place in time where African-American males are constantly stereotyped and shown in a negative light, the Crosby Scholars Community Partnership is looking to expand a program that helps African-American males in the community change that narrative and reach their full potential.

Statistics show that 1 in every 15 black men are incarcerated. And while African-Americans only make up 30 percent of the population, they make up 60 percent of those incarcerated. Several reports have shown there is indirect correlation between educational attainment and incarceration rates.

AAMPED (African American Males Pursuing Educational Dreams) was designed to address these stereotypes and help young men of color in the community continue their education after high school. After a trial run of the program in 2016, AAMPED is looking to make a bigger impact this year.

Mona Lovett, Crosby Scholars CEO and president, said after looking at the numbers in grades six through 10,  the numbers for black males were falling behind. According to Lovett, the program, which is funded by United Way, will have specific programs that will appeal to African-American males between the ages of 12-16.

“We wanted to put more focus on the early years developing relationships and connecting with students,” she said. “That’s a big part of AAMPED.”

To help the program reach new heights, Lovett has brought on former educator James Jessup and retired principal Richard Watts. She said with help from Jessup and Watts, they will look to develop more relationships with students, families and the community.

“We offered programming last year, and now we’re looking to expand on that and develop more touch points with students and their families. We also want the community to understand what’s going on with Crosby Scholars.”   Lovett said.

While discussing the program with The Chronicle, Jessup said as a former educator who worked in Title I schools, he always saw the need for programs like Crosby Scholars, that help those in need further their education. After working with the AAMPED program last year, Jessup said, he is excited to see the program reach out to more students.  

“Taking what we learned last year, I’m excited to build on that. We are ready to do what we can to connect the school, the community and Crosby all together. After connecting with some of the students last year, we’ve learned that relationships matter. If you don’t connect with people, they’re not going to connect with the program,” said Jessup. “We found the most success when we hosted a program that spoke to issues that weren’t necessarily academic but they were just how do you navigate life or how do you handle this situation.”  

Watts, who recently retired from Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy, said when presented with the opportunity to join the AAMPED team, he couldn’t say no.

“Working with African-American males, building them for college is what caught my attention because this is what I’ve been doing for the last 10 years.,” said Watts. “I thought this was a great opportunity to continue that and do some work in the community.”

The AAMPED team has already reached out to other organizations to build working relationships in the community. According to Watts, they have already reached out to Winston-Salem State University, Wake Forest University and the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity (MCWSV). Throughout the school year, along with programs hosted by Crosby Scholars, AAMPED will host separate programs and events for the young men of color, including guest speakers, and visits to college campuses.

“We’re trying to bring everyone together to build a partnership. We all want the same thing but we have work together to make it happen for our young men.” Watts said.

The deadline to enroll for the program this year is Oct. 8. For more information on the Crosby Scholars or the AAMPED program, visit or by phone call 336-725-5371.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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