A press conference for a new organization called Project Force was held in Florida A&M University’s Grand Ballroom on Jan. 11. Project Force hopes to enrich the surrounding community of FAMU and enlighten black youth by working with them to achieve academic success.
Project Force was created by members of two organizations, Big Bend and Mentor One. It was introduced to FAMU by student senators Gallop Franklin, 20, a junior pharmacy student from Tallahassee, and Dominick Ardis, a junior health care management student from Tallahassee.
Project Force is made up of various students from FAMU who plan to raise grades and FCAT scores through the application of various programs.
One such program is the Youth Black Male Discovery Project. This program entails working with the school board and focuses on increasing FCAT scores for students in third grade through eighth grade.
“I worked with this program for the last two years, but it seems kind of hard to excite people to get involved,” Franklin said.
Various community leaders were present at the press conference to support the beginning of Project Force and also help with many of the programs it will have to offer.
Community leaders such as District 3 Board Member Maggie Lewis, and City of Tallahassee Commissioner Ed DePuy, both praised Project Force.
“I support Project Force all the way because we need to get our children involved,” Lewis said. “When our children are involved, everybody will be involved.”
Apart from community leaders’ involvement with Project Force, many students came to listen in on the conference and further inquired on how to help.
“It’s one thing to have support of the Tallahassee community leaders such as the mayor and the county commissioner, but it’s another thing to have support of this institution from people who live right down the street and individuals who live across town,” Franklin said.
Ardis also mentioned another program called the Shadow Explosion Program. This program focuses on finding mentors for students.
We’re looking forward to actually putting up students to be mentors in the program to really excite the youthful minds about education,” Ardis said.
Depuy was in favor of this program.
“I’m learning that we have an opportunity to use the youth, the students here at FAMU, but also starting as early as the third grade, to teach us as we teach them,” Depuy said. “We can have the older students teaching the younger students and mentoring them.”
Although Project Force is enriching the community, it will also help the outlook on FAMU.
“One thing I can tell you, being a Tallahassee native and growing up in Tallahassee, the last four years has been a rough situation for Florida A&M when it comes to publicity and the one thing they should be spreading is the good news of FAMU,” Franklin said.
Student Body Vice President James Bland also made an appearance.
“I commend the student leaders who were in charge of putting this initiative together,” Bland said. “My only thing is that I hope that these same student leaders put the same vigor into initiatives such as ‘I believe in FAMU.’ “