Students and Professor Team Up To Provide Community With Role Models

Florida A&M University students and staff are making finding a role model and being a role model easy by teaching what it means to be a role model, as well as exemplifying these qualities for children in the Tallahassee community.

Professor Roscoe Turnquest and The Juvenile Justice Club of Florida A&M University have teamed up to create 'Role Model' program. The teen program includes judgement free dialogue on topics like sex, alcohol, domestic violence, college, landing jobs, and more. The 'Role Model' takes place every Monday-Thursday 3-5 p.m.

Teens in the Tallahassee community are delivered skits, question and answer sessions, and a judgement free environment where they can learn from the experiences of FAMU students.

Andre'Lia Curtis,14, attends Godby High School and said that the age of the "Role Models" makes all of the difference.

"I like that they're our age. They've experienced some of the stuff we talk about so they give us tips on problems we have. So far I learned that it's not okay to abuse people and if you are being abused, report it. Also, drinking underage can cause harm to other people and your future."

Like Curtis, many students are new to high school and are being faced with such topics for the first time. However, the 'Role Model' program allows students to ask burning questions on all topics and receive judgement free answers.

"When they have a question that they can't ask anyone at school or at home, they can ask it here." Deja Bradley, a junior sociology major from Philadelphia, is a Role Model and student of Florida A&M University who participates in the weekly program. Equipped with knowledge and the willingness to share her life experiences, Bradley believes opening up allows for real-life knowledge. "We are a  diverse group of students who want to be doctors, lawyers, and criminal justice professionals from diverse background. Being here allows us to be tangible for the teens we work with. They feel like they can always call on us because they can relate to us differently in their own way."

Debora Castor, a third-year sociology student from Miami, made the initiative to involve the students of the juvenile justice club with the program. Castor says that the program is all about setting an example.

"We are the next generation. Without a good example to follow they are going to follow the bad examples that they see. Children need role models because the role models I had helped me to be the person I am today. It changed my mentality as a child. So far a teen in the program landed an offer with a program that will change his life for the better. If we can be there to encourage him and other teens to keep doing good we do it."

Florida A&M University students are opening up to teens in the Tallahassee area to ensure the next generation learns from their experiences. The "Role Model" Program is enlightening the future for students while creating a safe place to learn about topics surrounding landing jobs, alcohol, domestic violence, sex, and college. The 'Role Model' program meets every Monday-Thursday 3-5 p.m. at The Walker Ford Community Center.