Purdue supports youth at 40th Indiana Black Expo

July 9, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Encouraging youth to go to college and make positive life choices are the themes that Purdue University is supporting at the 40th annual Summer Celebration of the Indiana Black Expo in Indianapolis.

The Expo, which started July 8, concludes on July 18. Purdue is sponsoring the Youth Empowerment Summit on July 16-18, which is themed "Not Another Teen Statistic." The three-day event encourages youth, ages 11-18, to focus on their academic, personal and community service goals and develop leadership skills. In addition, the summit offers training to youth service workers.

"If you look closely at those factors which lead to negative teen statistics it can often be traced to an uninformed decision made at a strategic moment," said G. Christine Taylor, vice provost for diversity and inclusion. "Today, young men and women are bombarded with a lot - whether it is the peer pressure, or media presentations that often package solutions to complex problems in a matter of 30 minutes or an hour, or new technology that has altered communication patterns and even our sense of community. So one of the challenges in many students' lives is the ability to obtain effective life navigation skills. We want to assist students to develop the skill set to sort through all that is coming at them and the wisdom to make sound decisions which will maximize their lives, and the Youth Empowerment Summit gives us a chance to do that.

"One of those sound decisions is obtaining a college degree. We want to communicate that college is possible and that it must be understood as part of the foundation for maximizing one's life. Yet there is a strategy to obtaining the degree that involves making the right key decisions at the right time. As a state and nation, there is no greater investment to be made than in the lives of young people, and we are committed to supporting them."

Juanita Crider, program coordinator for Purdue's Black Cultural Center, and Omari Dyson, a Purdue alumnus, will be presenting the "Follow Your North Star" workshop at the youth summit. The workshop will help the participants learn about establishing personal goals, said Renee Thomas, director of the Black Cultural Center.

The summit also will feature a Purdue informational fair about various academic and multicultural programs for prospective students.

Purdue also will sponsor an exhibition booth where visitors can learn more about the university's programs and services, as well as have their photos taken with a Purdue backdrop that features the university's "Leaders for Changing World" theme. Photos will be printed at the booth so visitors can take them home.

"Black Purdue," a feature-length documentary that chronicles the experiences of African-American students at Purdue since the 1890s, will be shown in the booth. Footage and photos of academic units, cultural service, students services and athletics also will be featured.

The Purdue Black Alumni Organization will host a Summer Jazz Reception from 7 p.m. to midnight on July 17. The Jerrell Smith Project is performing at the event at the Skyline Club in Indianapolis. The cost is $15 per person, and those interested can register in advance at https://www.purduealum.org/pbao/EventsCalendar/PBAOSummerJazzIBEReception/tabid/5905/Default.aspx  or pay at the door.

The Indiana Black Expo is the largest ethnic and cultural event in the nation, and it attracts more than 350,000 attendees annually. The Expo provides networking, educational, career and cultural opportunities for participants.

Writer:  Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Sources:   G. Christine Taylor, 765-494-5928, taylorgc@purdue.edu

                    Renee Thomas, 765-494-3091, rathomas@purdue.edu