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Kids built businesses for the summer

An old Ashanti proverb states that: Children are the reward of life.

A few days ago I attended the awards ceremony for the Juvenile Services Program _ Summer Youth Employment-Business Forum 1996.

The University of South Florida Activity Center was filled with student participants from St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Gulfport, Highpoint and Clearwater celebrating their successes and displaying and selling their products. The companies were set up with a slate of officers just like corporations. There were two publishing companies, leather shops, jewelry manufacturers, African crafts and photography studios.

During the intermission each booth seemed to do a brisk business as parents and invited guests let their enthusiasm and wallets show their support for these young entrepreneurs.

Reginald Roundtree, weekend news anchor for WTSP-Ch. 10, was the keynote speaker. His positive message touched on education, self-motivation, self-respect, God and perseverance. Short and to the point, he was well-received by the students and adults.

Orange Blossom Catering served a beautiful luncheon of yellow rice, corn bread, seasoned chicken breasts and some of the best collard greens I've had in a long time. Almost everyone seemed to enjoy the meal, as I saw quite a few folks making their way to the buffet table more than once.

This summer program taught not only marketable skills, but also worked with each participant in math and reading. The following students received awards for going the extra mile. For marketing: Robert Belvin, Tangela Wilson, India Craft, Cinitra Williams, Angela McAffee, Jerome King, Sherrie Reedy, Beverly Gains, Larvarest Daniels, Kitsana Chanthavong, Manuel Benitez and Aliza Xion. For manufacturing: Lydia Morgenstern, Stephen Daughtry, Nicole Ogilvie, Sharaun Newton, Sean McCue, Andrew Finkley, Keianna Hayes, Rhonda Richardson, Antwon Chance, Mary Gibson and Sergey Ginzburg. For significant improvement in reading: Rarico Anderson, Precious Morand, Thomas McCray, Maurice Lovett, Cassandra Downey, Jerome King, Stacy Martin, Chanel Junious, Andria Harrell, Randi Kassha, Desmond Newton and Steven Simpson. For significant improvement in math: Amanda Childs, Deyante Allena, Daniel Osborne, Brian Reisman, Lisa Boothe, Andrew Finkley, Miranda Raulerson, Terrance Adams, Rikki McKinney, Jante Bowens, Cinitra Williams, Torrance Sullivan, Kanika Paschal and Mokisha Daniels. Two special trophies were given in advertising to Andrew Finkley and Miranda Raulerson. Congratulations to one and all. Harambee!

The Crown of Success goes to Peter Parrado, executive director of Juvenile Services; James Myles, director of operations; their staff and the score of volunteers for helping to make this summer so productive for so many of our youth.

The Venue Theatre Collective, a not-for-profit corporation, will hold an open house for adults from at 7 p.m. Aug. 26 through Aug. 29. Interested adults may attend for the entire week for $10. Thursday is On Camera Night. Space is limited; reservations are recommended. The theater is at 624 First Ave. S. For information call 822-6194.

The Cradle of Wisdom comes from Jawanza Kunjufu: We must advocate the best services available for our children, establish high expectations, create supplemental programs and support independent African-American educational institutions.

You can reach me through TimesLine. Here's how. Using a Touch-Tone phone, call TimesLine at 898-0019; when it answers, punch in category code 8915, then leave your message.

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