Wednesday, July 1, 2009

For the First Time, Essence Festival Invites FAMU Upward Bound Students to Volunteer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida A&M University (FAMU) Upward Bound students were invited to volunteer at the Essence Festival. This is the first time Essence has invited teens or an Upward Bound program to volunteer at the festival.

The organizers of the interns and volunteers for the Essence Festival have invited 13 FAMU Upward Bound students to participate at the three-day event, which features a range of cultural activities and performances by some of the most popular musicians today. This year’s performances will include Beyonce, Robin Thicke and Frankie Beverly and Maze, to name a few.

The participants will travel with three chaperones to New Orleans, La.

“This year, in an effort to broaden our reach, we are tapping into the skill-sets if the next generation, by providing them with a dynamic media opportunity to experience the festival,” said Nick Thomas, volunteer and intern coordinator for the Essence Music Festival. “This will allow members of the FAMU Upward Bound media team to volunteer in various capacities that are critical to the success of the festival.”

The high school students participating in the summer Upward Bound Program have been competing for a spot on the thirteen-person team through a media challenge, with the help of FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication alum Keisha “L Michelle” Hayes.

The students have been produced two reality series that chronicles their Upward Bound experiences on FAMU’s campus this summer. The first reality series, which premiered this past May, is now running on The skills learned in the media challenge will come into play during the Essence Festival as they chronicle their volunteer experiences.

“Everyone in the program is excited for the students,” said Geraldine Seay, director of FAMU Upward Bound. “This will give our students an opportunity to really experience a media event like no other. In addition, they will be able to say they were a part of making it a success.”

About Upward Bound
Florida A&M University was one of 18 pilot programs started in 1965 during the administration of President Johnson and his “War on Poverty Act.” Since 1965, the Upward Bound Program has served more than 5,300 students. The Upward Bound Program is proud of its history of placing students into post secondary institutions (colleges, universities, etc.). Eighty-five percent of all students served have progressed to postsecondary education. Many former students have become successful in areas such as business, education, law, journalism, medicine, government and other fields. The Upward Bound Program has carried out its original purpose of exposing high school students to the opportunities available for students who pursue higher education.

Photo caption: Geraldine Seay, director of FAMU's Upward Bound (second row, first on left), takes a photo with the Upward Bound students and chaperones selected to volunteer at the Essence Music Festival.

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