November 5, 2009
09-183

Kate Elliot
Communications Specialist

New Direction Tour to Inspire Students

VALDOSTA -- Author Kevin Powell will visit Valdosta State University Wednesday, Nov. 11, as part of an eight-city tour to facilitate conversations with black middle and high school students. The University System of Georgia invited Powell’s New Direction Tour to connect with students, including those involved in USG’s Early College Program (ECP) and the African-American Male Initiative (AAMI).

The tour, which kicked off at Columbus State University in early November, will culminate at VSU. Powell will meet with VSU’s early college participants from 9:30-10:30 a.m. then have lunch with students from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Palms. He will address the public from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in the University Center Magnolia Room. Following his presentation, he will sign books and meet with the public from 3:30-4 p.m.

“Kevin Powell has a gift for connecting and conversing with young black men, and for getting them to discuss with him their possibilities for a better future,” said Arlethia Perry-Johnson, AAMI project director. “We want to inspire our students to think about ‘new directions’ for their lives, and we are looking forward to the strong impact we know Kevin will have in motivating our youth to achieve - both educationally and personally.”

The author of nine books, Powell offers audiences across the globe wisdom on surviving, living and winning. Editor of “The Black Male Handbook,” Powell is known for empowering the black community and addressing violence against women. Powell has spoken to hundreds of universities and colleges about a range of topics, including multiculturalism, corporate responsibility, civil engagement, sexism and leadership. His written work includes essays, articles and reviews in a number of publications from Rolling Stone to The Washington Post. The Phelps Stokes Fund Senior Fellow serves as a Writing Fellow for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

The University System of Georgia’s AAMI program is housed in the External Affairs
Division at Kennesaw State University. The initiative strives to enhance the recruitment, retention and graduation of black males enrolled in the 35 colleges and universities which comprise the state’s public higher education system. Since the program’s inception in fall 2002, enrollment of black males in the university system has increased by 36 percent.

Early Colleges are schools for students traditionally underrepresented on college campuses. The campuses provide students with encouragement and resources to achieve academically. In 2008, Valdosta State partnered with the Valdosta City School System to establish the Valdosta Early College Academy. By the end of 12th grade, academy students can earn both a high school diploma and up to 60 semesters hours of college credit. Students, who also complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service each year, learn to overcome the financial, academic and psychological hurdles that sometimes prevent students from entering and succeeding in college.

For more information about the African-American Male Initiative, visit
http://www.usg.edu/aami . Read about the Georgia Early College Initiative, go to www.gaearlycollege.org .

AAMI Release: http://www.valdosta.edu/news/media/2009/11/Powell.pdf