Sixteen junior high school students visited GW’s campus to learn how to set goals at the Direct Access to Personal Achievement program Saturday.
The Center for the Advancement of Small Business hosts the student enrichment program for different junior high schools in the D.C. area each semester.
This year, CASB and volunteers from the Black People’s Union and GW and Georgetown’s Black Masters in Business Administration Association hosted students from Browne Junior High School in Northeast Washington.
The students discussed how they must prepare themselves for college, both economically and mentally.
Some students said they aspire to become doctors, lawyers and writers. Ninth grader Lakeisha Grimes said she wanted to start her own law firm. She said DAPA encouraged her to stick with her goal.
“I learned that you can do anything as long as you think you can,” she said.
The program encouraged Paul Junior High School ninth grader Matthew Porter as well. Porter, who wants to be an artist and a bodybuilder, said he learned about what he needs to do to follow his dreams.
“I have to keep on trying and never give up. I always have to have faith in myself,” Porter said.
Students participated in empowerment workshops and interactive activities that focused on goal setting.
Charles Toftoy, GW professor in the School of Business and Public Management and CASB director, led a workshop in which students looked at a list of “101 Best Businesses to Start.” He asked the students to pick three entrepreneurial opportunities from the list and discuss why they want to pursue that career.
Best businesses to start included a no-alcohol nightclub, health care for senior citizens and telemarketing.
Students also completed a Master Achievement Plan, and were asked to present their MAP to the class. The MAP asked students what their goal is, how they will achieve it, who they will need to support them, what setbacks they will face and how they plan to deal with them.
DAPA volunteers said they enjoyed participating and giving their time to help students.
BPU President James Allen Jr. said he learned from the students.
“I learned that the goals they have are not just applicable at that age, they are applicable to me,” he said. “I’m eight years older than them. I’m getting out of college, but I still have goals to achieve.”
Black MBA Association member Crystal Jackson said this is her sixth time putting this program together.
“I’m just amazed at the level of intelligence of our young people. I am also amazed at their level of energy,” Jackson said.
She said every year she learns something new from the youngsters and they inspire her.
“It’s funny but I saw a part of myself in each of them,” Jackson said. “They’re bold and daring and willing. They pushed me to a higher level to know where I have to get in life.”
DeShawn Robinson-Chew said she picked Browne School as DAPA’s guests this semester. She said the school is a part of the Craver Terrace community where she volunteers to help youth.
“I always get re-energized from young people,” Robinson-Chew said. “It keeps me going to see generations behind me so motivated.”