Fourth annual Minority Mentorship Symposium
March 24, 2010
With the 83rd annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays presented by State Farm quickly approaching, so is the fourth annual Minority Mentorship Symposium -- the brainchild of Texas Women's Track and Field Head Coach Beverly Kearney.
The symposium, created as a forum for teaching, inspiring and mentoring student-athletes, has grown exponentially during its four years. It's now an event that provides opportunities for student-athletes to connect with successful people from all walks of life and learn how persistence can help you reach goals.
"It inspires, it motivates and it energizes and I think it really has a lasting effect because that's what this interacting, networking conference is all about," former Texas state representative Wilhelmia Delco said after last year's event. "They'll say I can't do that and then they realize they're sitting at a table with someone who's doing it."
Initially held as an intimate gathering of student-athletes and successful minorities who have overcome obstacles and faced challenges in their paths to success, the symposium is now a focal point over the Relays weekend drawing in professional athletes, high-profile minority executives and stars from the sports, music, political and corporate industries.
"Beverly, through this symposium, has brought in some of the best known talent in the entertainment industry for African-Americans to make sure that they reach out to the student-athletes to share their life stories," said Senator Royce West. "The students can see that their stories are similar to the ones that these successful businessmen and women have as well."
The event began as a way to provide insight for student-athletes on making the transition into the corporate world.
"I've never been this inspired," entertainer Eve said last year. "I've never been this inspired by so many different kinds of people. People said it did feel like church but in a way it's like church for the rest of your life, not just church for that one Sunday, but for your entire life so get up and come."
That kind of response was what Kearney envisioned when she started the forum years ago.
"It started as a simple plan to create greater visibility for the aspirations of the student-athletes," Kearney said. "It's a challenge for women in corporate America. It's a challenge for minorities. So, imagine being both. I was really passionate about them understanding that what they're facing, and what they're going through, is normal."
Said redshirt junior Betzy Jimenez: "This event helps you realize that all of these people have gone through or endured struggles and have been persistent and found a way to be successful in what they wanted to do and not necessarily what the world was telling them to do. Just to have the opportunity to talk to them and hear what they have to say and how I can translate it into my own life and so I can focus in on my own goals so for me it's just a blessing and a huge opportunity."
While the weekend is centered around the symposium itself, Kearney has added a variety of community service events to make sure those in attendance realize how important it is to use platforms to help those around you.
"It's about access and providing access is providing connections and this is what we hope to do," Kearney said. "We hope to provide and reconnect our generations together, our community together in terms of diversity and success. I want to connect people who are successful with people who want to be successful and that's the main thing that it's all about."
This year's weekend will feature stops at the Dell Children's Hospital, SafePlace and a Child Protection Services program called PAL which helps older youth in substitutive care transition into independent living. The three-day occasion kicks off Thursday, April 1 with a pep rally featuring U.S. Track and Field Association's "Win with Integrity" program and the Neighborhood Longhorns.
"Win with Integrity" is an initiative aimed at education youth, parents, educators and coaches about the positive results from leading a physically active, drug-free lifestyle while living with integrity.
Fourth Annual Minority Mentorship Symposium Honorees
Golden Legacy Award
GENTS OF DISTINCTION
Platinum Legacy Award
Pursuit of Dreams Community Service Award