L.A.M.P. Alumni and Congressman Tony Cardenas Inspire Mentees at the L.A.M.P. December Event

On December 16, 2024, the Gamma Zeta Boulé Foundation L.A.M.P. Mentor Program held its annual Alumni Reunion and Toys-for-Tots event at the home of Sire Archon Michael and Archousa Diane Scott. More than 40 Mentees, 11 Alumni, and 50 parents and Mentors attended the session. The December event has two main focuses.

First, each Mentee was encouraged to bring at least one unwrapped toy to this annual event for youth in the community. This year ‘s Toy Drive netted more than 60 toys collected on behalf of our monthly facility-host and partner Pasadena Church, who in turn facilitated the distribution of the donation to the Literacy Center in West Pasadena, which uses the toys as a reward for a student’s progress in the reading program that they offered. The second focus of the event is the peer-to-peer mentoring that occurs through the L.A.M.P. Alumni. The event includes a panel of alumni who talk about their post-L.A.M.P. experiences and accomplishments and how the Program contributed to their success. This year the panel consisted of Michael Allen, L.A.M.P. 2015, Morehouse College 2019, Corey O’Rane Ealy, L.A.M.P. 2018 Santa Clara University 2022, Tyler Street, L.A.M.P. 2020, graduating from Marist College 2024, Ali Shakoor, L.A.M.P. 2020, graduating Howard University 2024, and Sebastian Fuentes, L.A.M.P. 2023, attending Cal State Northridge. After a presentation by each alum, current Mentees asked questions about specific topics they were interested in and took notes in their journals. Congressman Tony Cardenas attended the event and provided inspirational remarks. He told the Mentees and alumni that he did not recognize himself as leader until he was 50 years old. He encouraged the attendees to see themselves as leaders now because they are leaders now. Congressman Cardenas led the Mentees and Alumni in a significant chat in which each individual in unison passionately yelled:

“I am a Leader; I am a Leader.”

The L.A.M.P. Alumni Reunion and Toys-for-Tots event ended with lunch prepared and served by James Beard nominated Chef Rashida Holmes of Bridgetown Roti.

L.A.M.P. Gets Mentees Ready for College Process and Internships

On January 27, 2024, the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program held its Mock Interviews and two concurring workshops: Writing a Personal Statement and Being an Ideal Team-Player. 18 Volunteer-Mentors – 16 as Interviewers and 3 as workshop presenters – provided a robust and educational experience for the Mentees. There were 8 interview panels, each with two accomplished African American men as interviewers. The Mentees had prepared resumes before the interviews and received a 30-minute interview with general questions and at least two questions derived from their resumes, along with a 15-minute feedback session on their performance in contact. With 37 Mentees participating, there were four interview sessions. While one group of Mentees were being interviewed, other groups participated in the concurrent workshops. Harry Fulmore, Regional Development Director for the United Negro College Fund facilitated the workshop and provided insight on crafting a dynamic personal statement. At the same time, Archon Gilbert Holmes, who provides leadership workshops for universities and businesses, conducted a workshop on Being an Ideal Team-Player. The workshop introduced the Mentees to the attributes of an Ideal Team- Player, – Humble, Hungry and Smart – and allowed each Mentee to participate in a self- assessment on those attributes.

Through these workshops and interviews, the L.A.M.P. Mentees received an opportunity to have a better understanding and appreciation for themselves, their strengths, and how best to present themselves to the world.

L.A.M.P. Sharpens Mentees Budgeting Skills with a Financial Literacy Best Practices Workshop and Budget Development Exercise

On February 24, 2024, the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program conducted a seminar workshop focused on the discussion of individual financial literacy concepts and techniques that Mentees could continue to review, develop, revise, and employ throughout their future careers. Mentor Mark Fowler and Panelist Marcellino Ford facilitated the initial general session covering general concepts and best practices which was followed by breakout sessions with topics including Credit (The Good and The Bad of Credit), some basics on Investing, Time vs Money Values, and the basic principles and guidelines of successful financial management. The Thirty-Five Mentees rotated through three, forty-five-minute sessions in which the valuable “how-to-information” was shared, and they were able to tap into the presenter’s expertise with lots of questions. A final one-hour session saw the Mentees split into groups with a Mentor to work on what might have been their first ever budget development session. Mentees were instructed to utilize a spreadsheet input format using their expected/estimated first job salary and living expenses in considering their budget decisions. For a while, the numbers flowed well down through the calculations, but soon all of the Mentees began to see red numbers showing up on their bottom-line thus forcing adjustments to either income or lifestyle decisions to keep the red ink under control. Finally, just when everyone thought they had executed their available resources down to the last penny, the Mentors added a couple of last-minute costs and unexpected items which proved impossible to cover without a total re-thinking of their budgets. As in real life, sometimes there is always more month than money, and some of those best practices that were discussed earlier in the day now needed to be reviewed and employed to get rid of the all the red ink. Once again proof positive . . .that money does not grow on trees!

We thank the volunteers, Mentors, Congressman Tony Cardenas, Sire Archon Michael and Archousa Diane Scoot, Marcellino Ford, and the Pasadena Church for their support of the Program and their investment of time, talent, and resources in the future of these young men.

As Archon Ramsey Jay recently stated at the MLK Breakfast in Los Angeles,

“Without us there is none; with us, there is another one.”