The August L.A.M.P. Workshop is usually the first session of the Program year, and this year was no different. In the 2022-23 program year, we enrolled thirty-six (36) Mentees of which approximately 50 percent were from the Pasadena area and the other 50 percent were from surrounding communities such as the San Fernando Valley, the Santa Clarita Valley, and Los Angeles. This cohort of students is grade-level stratified as follows – Freshmen (7); Sophomores (8); Juniors (11), and Seniors (10).

The speakers at the August Workshop were three professionals (Mr. Everad Williams; Mr. Mark Page, and Mr. Kevin Bathune) from the Art Center College of Design ( ) in Pasadena, California.

Each speaker described his journey on how he became the consummate icon in the space of Design and Innovation. These messengers were especially impactful to the Mentees as some of them described poignant messages such as how – “he was the first in his family to go to college”; “his interest in high school was photography”; “he lost his father at a young age and thought that he would have to leave school”… and so on.

This Workshop was held on the Zoom platform due to some participants contracting COVID-19 days before we were to meet in person. However, thanks to having two years of practice meeting on Zoom, the L.A.M.P. program quickly pivoted to conducting this session on a virtual platform where everyone remained safe from the COVID virus.

During the Workshop

The Program began with an Orientation for all Mentees and the parents of new Mentees. Mentor Ramsey Jay, Jr., President of the Gamma Zeta Boule Foundation, Mentor Earle Charles, Program Coordinator, and Mentor Gilbert Holmes, Director of Development and Curriculum welcomed the Mentees and new parents to the 2022-2023 Program Year. At the Orientation, Mentor Charles introduced the other Mentors, Nate Reddicks, Ferris Harvey, Mark Fowler, and Russell Richey, who was in Detroit due to a family emergency. Mentor Jay discussed the history of the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program and the connection of the Gamma Zeta Boule Foundation, which sponsors the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program, to Member Boule Gamma Zeta, which is a part of Sigma Pi Phi (the Boule), the oldest African American Greek-lettered organization in the world. Mentor Charles explained the logistics of the Program including the forms, permissions and consents required of the Mentees and the parents, Mentor Holmes explained the new notification platform that the Program instituted this year, and Mentor Fowler, the Chair of the Parents Auxiliary Council, explained the role of the Council and the ways that parents can volunteer in support of the Program.

After the Orientation, Mentor Holmes introduced the speakers for the workshop. The speakers were Mark Page, Everard Williams, and Kevin Bethune. Each has significant experience and success as a designer and provided a wealth of information to the Mentees. Each speaker talked during the general panel about their history and what they are currently doing in the world of design. After the panel presentations, each speaker was placed in a Breakout Room with 8-10 Mentees and one Mentor for in-depth Q&A sessions. The Mentees spent 30 minutes with each speaker. At the end of the Breakout Sessions, everyone gathered in the Main Room for the Mentees to express their appreciation for the time and information they received from the speakers. One of the ways that we ask the Mentees to express their appreciation is to tell the speakers one or two things that they learned from them.