SEATTLE – Inspired by the 250+ African-American men that showed up to greet South Shore PK-8 School students with high fives for its recent celebration of National African-American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID), Detroit-area nonprofit Real Life 101 announced that they will provide $10,000 scholarships to 10 graduating African-American male high school students that previously attended South Shore.

The mission of Real Life 101 is to improve the negative statistics relative to African-American males in America by “investing in education and not incarceration” through providing college scholarships, computers and certified mentors to graduating seniors. The organization’s executive director, Bryant George, says he became aware of South Shore’s 2016 NAAPID celebration after searching online for “Black males programs in Seattle.” “I was completely impressed with how the community has united around the young people and how the community has given them a vision, and how they are serving as role models for the kids who might be considered to be at-risk by society’s standards,” said George.

Scholarship guidelines include submission of an online application (not contingent on GPA) and a 1,000 word essay. Awards will be based on the strength of the student’s essay. Real Life will provide the following:

  • $10,000 tuition scholarship (2- or 4-year college; payable at $2,000 annually for up to five years)
  • A new laptop computer (equipped with most update software packages) plus a computer backpack
  • Pairing with a certified Real Life Mentor

Scholarship recipients will be selected in mid-March and award letters will be sent in late April. “What’s exciting for our community is that this event is touching others who feel compelled to reach out to us and our students are becoming the beneficiaries,” South Shore principal Kristin DeWitte said. “It just goes to show that when we authentically engage with our community, great things happen. What started with letting our students know how precious they are to us has moved beyond our wildest dreams—ten college scholarships, unbelievable!”

This is Real Life’s first partnership in the Seattle area and the cross-state gesture has quickly stirred local interest in exploring how to build on it. Anita Koyier-Mwamba, NAAPID organizer and Seattle Public Schools employee, wonders about the local implications. “If one out of state entity can make this level of investment in Black children, think about the local implications this has for our region? We can and must leverage this opportunity to do more for our Black children, what a remarkable opportunity for them!” said Koyier-Mwamba.

To learn more about Real Life 101, click here.