Most of my life I have worked with young people. As a teenager I worked in my church where I taught singing to youth and worked in the community as a youth development coordinator. While in college, I worked with teenage mothers in shelters. Directly out of college I worked with children of incarcerated parents and as a counselor for the NYC Department of Education. Even in my current role, as CEO of Entertainers 4 Education Alliance, working with the youth seemed to be my fate in life. For many years I tried to escape this destined path because I wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, which I did, first as a performer and then as an executive. I was able to build a successful Publicity/Marketing Firm, working with some of the biggest names in the music and entertainment industry. My life was great, the money was great, but, I was burned out from the hustle and bustle (if you asked me at that time, I would not have admitted it.). My career wasn’t fulfilling anymore. I was building the careers of some of the biggest names in the business but, there was no substance. I wanted more.
A few years ago, a friend asked me if I could bring one of my celebrity clients to his school to boost student morale and encourage attendance. To my surprise that school visit would change the trajectory of my life and push me back into my destiny. A report in the USA Today further revealed that approximately 7,000 students drop out of school each day nationwide. The article went on to state that the U.S. was facing an educational crisis. I was astounded. I couldn’t believe that our children were just giving up their futures, so as a mom, youth leader, activist, and music industry executive, I knew that preaching to our children wasn’t the solution. We needed to get influencers, people who they looked up to make staying in school relevant and cool.” I along with my partner J.P. Taylor flipped open our databases reaching out to our network summoning support from luminaries such as Russell Simmons, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Bow Wow, New York Knicks Legend John Starks, Joseph "Rev. Run" Simmons, L. Londell McMillan (Celebrity Entertainment Attorney) Tyreese Gibson (Actor/Singer), Susan Taylor(Essence Magazine) to form Entertainers 4 Education Alliance, Inc.
Since that time we have done tremendous work from awarding grants to public school students to help pay for college, to founding after school programs, to hosting empowerment seminars and developing public service announcements. Entertainers 4 Education Alliance has given so many students the motivation and support to excel in school and beyond. What started as a grassroots movement to motivate New York Public School students has developed into the “I WILL GRADUATE"
initiative. Recently, through the efforts of Entertainers 4 Education i was named one of New York City ’s “Great People,” by The New York Daily News and honored by New York City ’s Mayor, Michael R Bloomberg and former New York State Governor David Paterson. Entertainers 4 Education Alliance’s program for education reform has resulted in a proclamation declaring, I WILL GRADUATE DAY on October 26th for the city and state of New York .
As we move into a new era, we’ve recognized even more that inspiring our children demands more than voices of entertainers, but active involvement of parents, educators, administrators, and elected officials. We must continue to inspire
our youth to take responsibility for bettering themselves. We will connect
our youth and families to resources and opportunities designed to assist students in overcoming challenges and achieving academic and personal excellence. And, we will continue to empower
our youth to realize their incredible potential.