March 2017 News from PYO

Students with music creativity experience or interest recently visited Perry “Dj Pdogg” Tankard III (far right) to learn more about what it takes to succeed in the music industry. Pdogg, a Durham native, runs the music podcast #InTheMix, which has an audience reach in 165 countries and more than 900 markets worldwide. He told students stories about old-school and new-school deejaying and shared that the music industry is tougher than it’s ever been. But he encourages youth that if they focus, stay dedicated and “hone the craft” they will go far.

Benefit Breakfast Draws a Crowd for PYO Fundraising

April Dudash (left) and Channa Pickett with Duke’s Office of Durham & Regional Affairs were two of the more than 200 supporters at the benefit breakfast. The event space, the Ivy Community Center, is donated each year by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Alpha Zeta Omega Chapter.

It was an early morning last week that found a jam-packed room of attendants at PYO’s 10th Annual Benefit Breakfast fundraiser. The event raised $34,000 for the organization.

Special guests and sponsors (including corporate, business and individuals) shared breakfast as PYO students and their parents offered their organizational testimonies and were honored for saving and paying for their own higher educations.The annual late winter event’s keynote speakers, Latino Community Credit Union CEO and President Luis Pastor and Vice President of Duke’s Office of Durham & Regional Affairs Phail Wynn spoke about PYO’s significance to the Durham community.

Read more here.

Senior Boot Camp Upcoming

Veronika P. will be graduating in June and wants to study art in college.

“What’s the best way to write a college or scholarship essay?” “Do I have the financial means to get to school and stay?”

These and many more questions come from seniors planning to graduate this spring. PYO is hosting a series of workshops at Lyon Park called “Graduating Senior Boot Camp” on Wednesdays from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. through May 3.

The PYO academic team including Duke tutors will expose high school seniors to a wealth of information including getting connected to campus life and academic resources, healthy ways to handle stress and even basic CPR and First Aid training techniques.

“We want to provide our seniors with a healthy start and help them dispel their myths and fears about college,” said Dosali Reed-Bandele, PYO’s Academic Director.

The boot camp series kicks off Wed., March 22 and will end with Scholarship Project presentations on Wed., May 3.

Listening Sessions Inform and Ease Fears

Desmera Gatewood and Jesse Huddleston get guests to open up about their concerns in today’s political climate.

Family helps shape our students. PYO recently held a Family Listening POP (points of perspective) session to address students’ concerns about last fall’s elections and the current political climate.

These open floor forums give everyone a safe space to share fears, concerns or hopes.

Desmera Gatewood and Jesse Huddleston of DURM Talks, a millenial-oriented discussion entity that tackles local political and community issues, spearheaded the forum. About 40 folks including parents, students and mentors, started out together and then separated to continue sharing perspectives in break-out groups.

They talked about recognizing different forms of oppression and racism and how everyone felt before, during and after the election. Many attendees shared experiences of being profiled but are proud how people are “marching and standing up.” One father said it is good that people from different backgrounds could get together, agree to disagree on certain things but still stand unified.

Mentoring Highlight

Heyda P. and Vanessa M.

Whether it is formal or informal mentoring, research shows that the relationship has complimentary benefits.

Mentors in informal relationships tend to provide encouragement to stay motivated and on the right path and help with youth development. Formal mentoring relationships, on the other hand, typically provide more academic support and guidance for other life problems like finding employment or getting into college.

Vanessa Michelou, a scientist with a biotech company and a new PYO mentor, shares why she wants to help guide Durham youth.

Read more here.

Meet Charlie Ebel

Charlie Ebel has decades of communications experience including editing, public relations management as well as business development.

Board member Charlie Ebel is an extremely capable communicator that has been helping guide PYO for a few years. He has acted as a spokesperson for a national nonprofit as well and created content for print and interactive media as well as websites.

He received his anthropology degree from Duke and currently works as director of proposal operations for RTI International. A decorated professional who has won numerous awards including the 2008 National Health Information Award for his consumer handbook Managing Herpes, Ebel is also a world traveler including African nations such as Ghana, Liberia, Zambia and Nigeria.

Click to read Charlie’s story.

Dates to Remember

Parent & SCA Student Meeting
Mon., March 13 6 – 7:30 p.m.
Lyon Park
Learn important steps to participate in summer activities.
Brumley Nature Preserve
Wed., March 15 3 – 6 p.m.
Lyon Park

Attorneys with Hatch Rockers Immigration volunteered to spearhead a recent parent’s meeting concerning immigrant rights. From left to right Jack Rockers, an HRI partner, PYO Office Manager Miriam Valle and Evelyn Smallwood, HRI associate attorney.

We’ll leave Lyon Park at 3 p.m. to volunteer clearing nature trails – call Adam.
Girls’ Group
Sat., March 18 1p.m.
Lyon Park
Girls, like bowling? Come join Dosali!
Graduating Senior Boot Camp Series
Wednesdays beginning March 22 – May 3
4:30 – 6 p.m. Lyon Park
Seniors learn how to get plugged into your future campus, pitfalls to avoid and get advice from other PYO college students – call Dosali.

“You can be whatever you want. It’s up to you. You have to put in the work, do the things you’re supposed to do. But at the end of the day all you need is an opportunity.” – Ron Rivera
2016-top-rated-nonprofitproud Member

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Get in Touch

Partners for Youth Opportunity  
1309 Halley Street
Durham, NC 27707 USA

Mail : [email protected]
Phone : (919) 536-4230