Rattlers increase role in Teach for America

The Teach for America organization is rooted in the concept, “Poverty is not your destiny.” And Florida A&M students are increasing the presence of HBCU graduates in the program.
According to TeachforAmerica.org, 16 million American children are challenged with poverty. However, it is proven that low-income students can achieve at high levels. The mission for Teach for America is to provide students with equal education despite coming from low-income communities.
Dominique Veasey, a junior business administration student from Bowie, Md., at FAMU and campus campaign coordinator, said it is important for students of low-income communities to have instructors who resemble them.
“You can’t be what you can’t see,” Veasey said. “Students need an example. A teacher who looks like them when they stand in the mirror serves as their role model.”
According to Veasey, there has been a 54-percent growth in FAMU students submitting applications to the organization this year alone – totaling 100 student applications. Of that, there are 23 FAMU students who accepted their offers to become Teach for America Corps members.
Crystal Daniels, recruitment director for HBCUs and a Spelman alumna, said she is proud of FAMU students. Many seniors at the university who apply want to be a positive change in the lives of students dealing with challenges of poverty, Daniels said.
“Applicants want to be a part of the effort to change the reality in America that where you grow up determines your educational and life opportunities,” Daniels said. “FAMU students apply because they understand the difference between operating in ‘purpose’ instead of ‘process.’ They understand that giving up two years to change the life path of students in low-income communities will not delay their success as future leaders in their career sectors.”
Carissa McBride, a recent FAMU graduate, has been accepted into the program and starts her five-week training June 2 in Mississippi.
“As their teacher, I want to gain an understanding of how I can help students in ways previous teachers couldn’t,” McBride said. “I want the students to be better than before I came.”
According to Daniels, last year there were 12 FAMU graduates who were among 6,000 first-year Teach for America Corps members nationwide.
“We know that students benefit when teachers who share their background or life experiences teach them,” Daniels said. “It’s not just about teaching for two years, it is about this idea of creating a legacy so the kids that we teach for two years will have a fighting chance to one day be a HBCU alum.”