Black Suit Initiative Ambassadors met recently to look through our record number of applicants for the upcoming school year. These young men carefully reviewed each application in preparation for the interviews over the next 2 weeks. Ambassadors will interview ALL applicants and make final decisions on new members.
On a sweltering Saturday afternoon, artist Hubert Jones, worked with BSI members on perfecting their painting techniques as they created their original sunset designs.
Because of a generous grant from the Teen Grantmaking Council (Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro), The Black Suit Initiative members were able to construct garden boxes with members of Hope Chapel. Middle and high school members are growing 8 types of vegetables which will be distributed to families in need.
In conjunction with reading the "Dear Martin" novel by Nic Stone, students collaboratively wrote an open letter to America on their experiences as young Black males in this country. Click on the picture above to watch this YouTube video.
The pandemic has limited our ability to travel, however, it didn't limit our ability to explore new places virtually. Students were able to explore the Australian bush-lands and interact live with a tour guide. Australian food and beverages were also provided while they experienced the virtual tour.
This year, our organization partnered with Seed of H.O.P.E. to provide our 3 seniors with 1 on 1 college prep coaching. To date, all three students have been accepted into their "dream college". Collectively, they have been accepted into over 20 colleges.
Chef Julian Mitchell, a 2012 graduate of The Sparrow's Nest,Inc., taught members of The Black Suit Initiative how to cook American Goulash. Students were all provided with boxes of ingredients to be able to cook from their own kitchens. For many, this was their first time cooking a meal.
Carrie Little, with Abba Design, allowed young men the opportunity to let their creativity bloom as they created live fresh cut arrangements for Mother's Day.
Covid has been emotionally draining for students, so to add some happy interactions, Youth Ambassadors have planned monthly activities for small groups of members in the organization. February had a Jamaican theme with authentic food and music. They also played board games and participated in team building exercises.
Sakinah Pritchard, with Skin Loft Esthetics, spent a Saturday afternoon teaching young men how to take care of their skin. A facial scrub, mask, moisturizer and sunscreen were just some of the steps given in caring for their skin daily.
Our partnership with the local office of Nasdaq, has provided us with access to successful corporate executives from across the country. Last month we had successful entrepreneur and President and CEO of Atlantic Life, Roosevelt Giles, speak on his humble begins to his rise up the corporate ladder. In February students were able to interact with co-founder of Starbucks, Dave Olsen.
Although it was a difficult year, students still read novels, worked in the garden, held food drives and attended workshops. Sometimes, you just have to let go and have some fun! Students spent a Saturday afternoon playing outdoor laser tag. It was a great team building exercise and a great way to forget about the woes of the world.
BSI members spent a beautiful Saturday October morning at the Greensboro History Museum exhibit, “Pieces Of Now: Murals, Masks and More” followed by lunch and conversation. Because the pandemic has limited travel, it's great to explore activities within our own city!
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The Sparrow’s Nest , Inc. was developed to engage youth in leadership initiatives in an effort to prevent crime and drug activity and develop educational, artistic and character building skills to better prepare them for their transition to college or career.
In 2016, The Sparrow’s Nest, Inc., launched their new, all male program, “The Black Suit Initiative”.
This leadership and community engagement program allows young men in middle and high school, the opportunity to improve academic performance, explore their career interests and participate in positive team building exercises. The successful completion of program modules allows these young men the opportunity to earn their own full black suit at the completion of the first year.
Young men are selected to be in the program through an application and interview process during the month of June. Members can remain in the organization until they graduate from high school.
The logic behind the black suit is based upon a new study conducted by the psychology department at California State University. They discovered wearing a suit does change thought processes. The study found formal clothing improved confidence levels and changed the basic way respondents perceived the world. Wearing a suit encourages people to use abstract processing more readily than concrete processing.
Born in Lynchburg, VA, Evainna W. Ross has dedicated most of her life to helping youth secure better educational and economic opportunities through the development of her nonprofit organization, The Sparrow's Nest, Inc.
Upon graduating from North Carolina A&T State University with a B.S. in Public Relations in 1991, Ross began her journey working with youth under the leadership of the late civil rights pioneer, Rev. Prince E. Graves. Ross spent six years volunteering as the youth director of St. James Baptist Church increasing their youth programs' participation substantially.
Ross took what she learned at St. James Baptist Church and developed a community based model and launched The Sparrow's Nest, Inc. in Claremont Courts, a public housing community in Greensboro in October 2008. The Sparrow's Nest , Inc. was a mobile service which provided free programs on Saturdays such as ballroom dancing, sculpting, culinary arts and public speaking directly to youth in 4 of the largest public housing communities in Greensboro. Because of the growing popularity of these programs, Ross felt she wasn't making a lasting impact only seeing youth in these communities once a month. For that reason, in 2010, Ross, with a panel of educators and business owners, interviewed and selected 50 middle and high school youth to be members of a leadership program called The Chosen 50. The majority of these youth were selected from the communities she had served prior. These youth remained in the program until they graduated high school.
During their time in the program, these youth were empowered to make positive decisions for their lives as well as their communities. These youth have developed their own small businesses, developed political campaigns, created a stock portfolio and learned how to purchase their own homes and cars.
In 2014, Ross was recognized nationally by the Ascena Retail Group as an "everyday hero" who has dedicated her life to making the world a better place by empowering children in the areas of education, social support and self-esteem.
The Sparrow's Nest, Inc. has continued to evolve into a program which addresses the need of an ever-changing society. In 2016 they launched their newest division, The Black Suit Initiative, an all male leadership and community engagement program for middle and high school students.
Ross has been married to Kevin for 33 years and they have one daughter, Amariah.