Each spring, High Aspirations Inc. has a celebratory breakfast banquet to honor and recognize young men who have made great strides over the past year.
Mentors, participants, their families and guests come together to share in the accomplishments in the following areas: academic achievement, attendance and participation in High Aspirations activities, and relationship building with their mentors and community service.
At the 2016 Breakfast Banquet, the organization will honor 32 young men who are now honor roll students and many others who have increased their grades. They will also celebrate that 100 percent of the group’s high school seniors are graduating and college-bound!
The 12th annual event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 16, on the Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley campus, in Education Center Room 019.
Dr. Joe Seabrooks, president of MCC-Penn Valley, and Daniel Gerson, CEO of the Big Biscuit, will be honored at the breakfast for the support and commitment they have shown to High Aspirations over the years.
High Aspirations was founded in 2004 to serve the social, emotional, academic and spiritual needs of African-American males ages 8 to 18. The mentoring program stresses respect for self and others, family and community responsibility and academics, and guides young men on a path toward becoming productive members of society, loving husbands and dutiful fathers.
The group’s founder is Henry W. Wash, an MCC alumnus. Growing up in Kansas City, Wash saw many peers, including his brothers, become attracted to “street life.” Wash chose a different path and became a protégé/mentee of the late Thurman Mitchell (KCTV5) and Henry W. Bloch, who helped fund his education. He earned his associate degree from MCC-Penn Valley and went on to earn a bachelor’s in sociology, a minor in African-American studies and a master’s in public administration with an emphasis in urban affairs.
Wash’s life experience, education and relationships with many area business leaders lend to his credibility and effectiveness. He trains and shows the mentors how to teach the mentees to navigate through life challenges in order to enter professional or corporate environments.
Of the original group of young men involved in the High Aspirations program, 86 percent have moved forward successfully. The young men are doing one of the following: post-secondary education (two-year or four-year college or trade school), working full time or serving in the military.
High Aspirations will be announcing the date Stedman Graham will be in Kansas City on the group’s behalf. Graham is a CEO, educator and author of 11 best-selling books.
For more information, visit the High Aspirations website at highaspirationskc.org, or call 816.305.3334.