“If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.”
When Verizon first launched its Minority Male Makers (MMM) partnership with four HBCUs across the country, it did so with the intention of introducing African-American middle school students to technology in up close and personal ways. The program exposes them to a range of STEM disciplines, including mobile app design, coding, computer programming, robotics, and 3D printing.
Morgan State University hosted the most recent MMM program, featuring Baltimore-bred entrepreneur and former president of Def Jam Kevin Liles and Maryland Senator Catherine Pugh, who presides over the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.
The event did everything from engage the young men on STEM disciplines, to prepare them with general life skills like preparing for interviews and managing entrepreneurial tasks. “It’s really good to be enthusiastic about what you’re doing and when you put a lot of thought into it, it shows,” said seventh-grader Didier Osias of the event. “No matter how hard the work may seem I found that you can really have fun doing it,” notes Osias, according to AFRO, one of Baltimore’s premier community newspapers.
During the event the young men focused on creating innovative, and tech-centric business ideas. They also received words of wisdom from Liles who shared tips on entrepreneurship and reveled in the participants’ focus and ambition. “What I learned today is that if you provide a possibility and an opportunity for a young kid no matter what age, they’re going to show up and not only are they going to show up they’re going to show out,” he said.
For her part, Sen. Pugh focused on espousing the virtues of hard work, perseverance, and goal-setting, and commended the young men for their efforts in the program. Politic365 reached out to Sen Pugh, who’s running for Baltimore Mayor, to ask her view on the importance of this kind of program. “Young people need a compass, and considering how much technology is shaping our lives, these kinds of efforts help make sure our children are included in the industries driving such growth and opportunity in our communities.”
As part of the two-year commitment to engage young men of color in the STEM fields, Minority Male Makers will offer a summer program running daily from June 27 through July 22, 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.