Friday, April 11, 2014

The Fellows Go To Washington D.C.!

During Spring Break, the junior fellows had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. for a weeklong visit.  For many of them, this was their first trip to our nation’s capital.  Here are some of the highlights of the visit:  

We toured three museums in the Smithsonian Institution.  The National Museum of History had great exhibits on ancient life forms and cultural artifacts like the famous Hope Diamond.  We watched an IMAX at the Air and Space Museum that presented an unprecedented window seat on board a space shuttle.   Finally, at the American History Museum, the fellows really enjoyed the Changing America exhibit that commemorated the Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington in 1963.   

We had a fantastic time touring the Monuments on a moonlight tour aboard an Old Town Trolley.  We stopped at the Lincoln, Vietnam, Iwo Jima, FDR, and Martin Luther King Memorial.  We also heard historical tales and anecdotes about the fascinating history of Washing D.C.

We visited Arlington National Cemetery and saw the Robert F. Kennedy Gravesite and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  The fellows especially enjoyed the Changing of the Guard ritual and gazing out at the impressive landscape, which serves as a tribute to the service of those laid to rest there. 

We had the chance to visit the Kennedy Center and see an amazing performance called Liner Notes.  Vocalists and a jazz trio combined for a unique multimedia experience to present the history of hip-hop throughout the decades.  

Finally, we had the exceptional opportunity to visit all three braches of the government.  We took a tour of the Capital, attended a lecture at the Supreme Court, and visited the White House.  The highlight of the trip was our visit to the White House.  We were very lucky to participate in a round table discussion with members of the Obama administration who worked closely with Elizabeth Edwards and on the Edwards campaign.  We learned all about life in the White House, and had an incredible tour of the West Wing, including the Oval Office and the Press Corps Room.  We also were given presidential M&M’s and Hershey Kisses, which the fellows were very excited to receive.

Overall, everyone had a wonderful time on the trip.  The fellows learned so much about our nation’s history and political systems.  Whether it’s a career in politics or keeping educated about governmental policies and current events, the fellows learned the importance of being active, and engaged citizens.  

March Mentor of the Month!

Sha’Michael Lilly is in her second year of mentoring two fellows, Cynthia Lee and Albertine Voza.  Sha’Michael is a junior at NC State University studying Social Work.  She has really enjoyed getting to know each of her fellows on a more personal level.  While her fellows are both very different from one another, she really admires their focus and drive when it comes to getting a good education.

During her first year of mentoring, Sha’Michael was able to bring her fellows to two of her classes on campus. This was a great opportunity for them to ask various questions about college life and get a firsthand experience of what it feels like to be a college student.  The fellows also really enjoy their discussions with Sha’Michael and like how kind and understanding she is.  They especially appreciate how Sha’Michael helps them to set up their goals and make the right choices in life.     

Overall, Sha’Micahel has really enjoyed exposing her fellows to the college lifestyle, which is something she was never able to experience as a high school student.  She realizes that many young people may lack stability and inspiration, or anyone to look up to. Mentoring programs can serve as the connecting factor between youth who may feel lost or broken and adults who want to inspire and build them up.  

Friday, February 28, 2014

Fellows Welcome North Carolina General Assembly Speakers!

What an exciting and eventful month for the Elizabeth Edwards Fellows Program! 

We welcomed Dee Atkinson and Russell Miles from the North Carolina General Assembly to talk to our Junior fellows about their local government.  The fellows learned how to find and track bills, follow chamber activities, meetings, and issues, and the best way to find and communicate with their State House and Senate Representatives.  The fellows also learned important ways to advocate for themselves and their community, and gained valuable advice for getting involved in politics and local government issues. 

The Junior fellows also attended a College Application Readiness Workshop hosted by the Raleigh College Center.  The workshop, led by a local high school counselor, gave strategies for creating the best possible application for colleges.   

The Sophomore fellows have also been busy with the Step It Up 2 Thrive Trainings.   This month, the fellows have been creating personal goals and learning goal management skills.  Dr. Richard Learner at Tufts Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, has demonstrated that young people who develop strong goal management skills are on a positive journey toward thriving.   In Step It Up 2 Thrive, goal management is described as an internal GPS guidance system- thus helping the fellows with their Goal Selection, Pursuit of Strategies, and Shifting Gears in the face of challenges.        

February Mentor of the Month!

Congratulations to our Mentor of the Month, Lauren Prevatte! 

Lauren is in her second year of mentoring for the Elizabeth Edwards Fellows Program.  She is currently a senior at North Carolina State University and majoring in Social Work.  

Lauren is matched with two of our fellows- J’nyce Poe and Tabrinna Haley.  According to Lauren, “My fellows have taught me so much more than I could ever have imagined.  They are two girls full of so much potential and drive to have a successful future, and it has been my honor to try and help them access that potential.”   In addition to their weekly meetings at Starbucks, Lauren and her fellows have participated in community service projects together, and attended a “Titanic” exhibit.  According to her fellows, Lauren has been a great influence on their lives.  She is “always available to talk and answer questions, and gives great advice with whatever is going on in our lives.”  Lauren is inspired to mentor because, “in this day and age, youth are surrounded by so many negative stimuli that it is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate down a positive and successful path.  Mentoring gives me the opportunity to use my experience, and even my mistakes, to help them pick a better path for themselves.”  

Thank you so much Lauren for all your passion and hard work!  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Year's Happenings!

SAT Prep and Skills to Pay the Bills Event!

It has been a busy month for our fellows.  The junior fellows participated in a SAT Prep program offered by the Wade Edwards Learning Lab.  The test prep workshop included strategies for tackling each section of the SAT as well as information about what to expect on test day.  The junior fellows also attended a Skills to Pay the Bills event offered at Broughton High School.  Students participated in interactive presentations on communication, enthusiasm/attitude, teamwork, problem solving/critical thinking, and professionalism.  Presenters included representatives from Fidelity Investments, Alfred Williams and Company, The Umstead Hotel and Spa, Wake Tech Community College, and the United States Army.

The sophomore fellows have started the Step-It-Up-2-Thrive curriculum created by Thrive Foundation for Youth. The first stage of the curriculum is the identification of youths' sparks- those hidden strengths that are discoverable in all youth.  We had a wonderful discussion about how to identify the fellows' sparks, obstacles that can get in the way of sparks, and those champions who know and support them in pursuit of their sparks.    

Finally, out new fellows have started meeting with their mentors this month.  We are so excited for these relationships to grow and flourish, and are already seeing how much the personal support system of a mentor is making a difference in the lives of the fellows.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

College 101 and Kick Off Party!

We have had a busy but exciting month at the Elizabeth Edwards Fellows Program.  Three of our Fellows attended a career and college fair at the Garner Road Community Center.  A number of colleges from North Carolina were in attendance, and our students received some great information about their college prospects.  The Fellows also attended a College 101 workshop with Jenny Peacock, the Director of Admissions at Peace University.   During this interactive presentation, students were challenged to think about a successful “Action Plan" for college admissions.  The students also learned some great tips about applying for, paying for, and succeeding in college.  Finally, we are pleased to welcome six new sophomores and one new junior into the Elizabeth Edwards Fellows Program!  These students, who were nominated for the program by their teachers based on their academic potential, had to complete an application and interview in order to become accepted into the program.   We celebrated their acceptance, at our Kick-Off Party, at the Alley, a bowling alley in Raleigh.  Both new and previous Fellows as well as friends and family had a wonderful time bowling and learning more details about the program and all the exciting opportunities we have to offer. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Elizabeth Edwards Fellows Program Welcomes Its Second Cohort of Students!!!

The Elizabeth Edwards Foundation is proud to welcome a new cohort of high school sophomores into the Elizabeth Fellows Program.  These students will follow in the footsteps of last years eight original Elizabeth Fellows.  The Fellows will participate in mentoring with area college students, receive academic tutoring in courses where they are receiving less than a B average, and take part in service learning opportunities.   The Fellows will also research and learn to speak about issues they care about in their community.  At the end of the year, they will receive laptops to help them mature as scholars and advocates.

As Elizabeth Fellows in their junior year, students will explore their college options and receive support in the application process.  Fellows will receive SAT prep, attend college tours and workshops, and learn about scholarship and financial aid options.  They will also identify and research problems in their community and learn to advocate for the solutions.  At the end of the year, Fellows will travel to Washington D.C. to lobby their representatives for their cause. 

Though only in its second year of programming, we are determined to show our Fellows a vision where they can be successful in high school and college, and continue to excel and make a difference in the world at large.  As dedicated and passionate high school students, our Fellows have been and will continue to be instrumental in improving and enhancing the success of the program.