Minority Students To Get Help With College and Test Prep Classes

Community Fitness & EducationDarnell Parker’s Community Fitness & Education program is setting out to better prepare minority students for college and boost their test scores

To help low-income students improve their scores on the SAT and their college-admissions chances, a Washington, D.C. entrepreneur is providing college test prep classes through his a nonprofit organization -Community Fitness & Education.

Darnell Parker, a financial analyst and fraud expert, said he started Community Fitness & Education Darnell Parker (501(c)3 to increase the percentage of students completing college, particularly among minority students.  According to recent report released by the Education Trust, 60 percent of whites graduate with a college degree compared with 47 percent for Latinos and 40 percent for Blacks.

“I want to ensure that Community Fitness & Education is a model that can work in cities around the country,” said Parker, 41, who earned his M.B.A. from Michigan. “What makes the program work is that our programs are tailored to the needs of students who don’t have resources and families with college experience to convey the importance of the test. Our vision is for minority students to get accepted into college.”

Community Fitness & Education currently operates only in Georgia, but there are plans to expand to other markets, including Dallas, Texas and Washington, D.C, within the next year.

The Atlanta-based organization primarily serves low-income student, offering an 80-hour SAT-prep program to high school juniors and seniors. In the program, students take four full-length, proctored SAT exams. The information is used to help instructors identify areas where improvement is needed. There is a combination of classroom lessons and small group mentoring, which cover the fundamentals of financial aid and the college-admissions process.

Parker says the curriculum is intensive and focuses on getting students who start with low SAT scores to build core academic skills in English and math. In addition, master “tricks of the test”.

Kareemah El-Amin’s “I Have No Tears for Me” Changing People’s Lives

“With every song , listeners are drawn into a place of praise and worship.”

— LaKeisha Purifoy

“Kareemah’s new EP, “I Have No Tears for Me,” is a very moving work. …  The [music] is transporting and lifts the listener on a great musical odyssey through her performance.”

– Richard Hensel

 (DALLAS – April 2)  Kareemah El-Amin’s new gospel album, “I Have No Tears for Me,” is hugely popular, gaining praise and recognition from radio stations, listeners and faith-based audiences around the world.

Kareemah El-Amin I Have No Tears For MeMichigan native Kareemah El-Amin (http://kareemahelamin.com), a former Muslim who converted to Christianity, has said her new EP/CD, “I Have No Tears for Me,” and her hit new single, “Walkin’ In Heaven”, is receiving an amazing response. The EP/CD, launched on March 14, is available to download on iTunes.  The song is currently on heavy rotation on the Synergy1Radio Network, Hot 3:16 and HGS Radio.

“I’m hearing from people every day in emails, tweets and phone calls about how these songs are changing people’s lives,” said El-Amin, who converted to Christianity three years ago. “We are now on over 30 stations around the world. We are being played in several countries  -Africa, Japan, Norway, Australia, United Kingdom, South Africa, in the states we are on radio stations in, Illinois, Ohio, Mississippi, Michigan, Indiana, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, New York, Maryland, and Washington D.C.”

“We so enjoyed the opening of Kareemah’s ‘[I Have] No Tears for Me!,” said Coni Peck on El-Amin’s Facebook page (http://facebook.com/kareemahelamin). “Hearing her songs, and listening to her story – well, let’s just say that we didn’t leave the same way we came in. Kareemah’s heart and soul are obvious in her music.”

Kashani Aytch wrote: “Kareemah El Amin’s refreshing, sultry, spiritual and anointed voice from her new EP … is such a blessing.”

Shane Williams wrote:  “Even though I only heard the one song, ‘Walking in Heavin’’, I Love It! It’s a great blend of vocal talent, lyrical content and musical flavor!”

El-Amin’s music is the result of a collaboration with Stellar Award-winning composer Matthew Brownie of Minstrel Productions, who is the co-writer of the hit song, “Never Would Have Made It,” by Marvin Sapp Billboard songwriter and Christian artist Carmen Calhoun, sings along with her in the upbeat, “Walking In Heaven.” Dave Carlock of 27 Sounds, who is a Grammy Award winning engineer, rounds out her all-star team.

The new music offers rich, melodic inspirational messages, drawing off El-Amin’s strong faith and background as a singer, songwriter, author, playwright and filmmaker.  Already, her single, “Walkin’ in Heaven”, has received critical praise from radio stations and gospel music fans around the country.  In the months ahead, she will be traveling around the country sharing her music – and her gospel.


Where2Go411 Wins New U Entrepreneurs Grant

McLean, Va – A panel of expert judges awarded WhereToGo411.com a $20,000 grant as part of a national competition.

The New U: News Entrepreneurs Working through UNITY project announced December 10 that its two 2013 seed grant winners have been selected based on three-fourths-weighted judges vote combined with a one-fourth crowd-sourced peer vote.

Kathy TimesThe winners from participating organizations and unaffiliated groups are Eunice Nuekie Cofie, CEO/Founder of “EthnicDermMedia,” and Kathy Times, Co-founder of “Wheretogo411.com.” Times and Cofie are graduates of Florida A&M University.

“This grant will help spread awareness about a unique tool designed to help grow the African-American business class, and spur economic development in communities that suffer disproportionately from economic neglect,” said Times. “I’m ecstatic and want to thank the New U judges for this awesome gift that will help us fuel a national campaign; it will change the economic reality of urban communities across America,” she added.

As in past years, program co-directors Doug Mitchell and Alli Joseph felt that using crowd-sourcing as part of the decision-making process was the most equitable way to choose winners.  “After receiving feedback from past grant recipients, camp participants and our panel of judges, we adjusted the formula for deciding who wins. We wanted the decision to be less of a popularity contest and more of an experientially informed decision by experts,” said Doug Mitchell, program Co-director. “The open public vote remains a vital part of the process, as our judges get to see how our contestants ‘sell’ others on what they are doing.”

Click here to read more …

Relationship Expert Van Moody Offers Dating Advice to Scandal’s Olivia Pope

By Van Moody

View More: http://eqsphotography.pass.us/pas-high-resolutionThursday’s winter finale of ABC’s hit drama Scandal promises “things will never be the same,” with another addictive episode with a near-lethal dose of murder, passion, intrigue, deceit, betrayal and retaliation. The show has received critical acclaim for its ripped-from-the-headlines storylines, fast-paced dialogue and dizzying interpersonal dynamics. It has earned its “crazytwistygood” hashtag. For 2-1/2 seasons, week after week, show creator Shonda Rhimes unravels tightly-woven tales that have viewers on the edge of their seats and set Twitter feeds ablaze. The cast even joins live chats with viewers on both the East and West coasts. It is a loyal, sacred relationship that provokes critical commentary on the tension between passion and principles, and the ways in which we lobby for, leverage and lose power in our own relationships.

Olivia Pope’s on-again off-again relationship with the very-married President Fitzgerald Grant has triggered debates about the relationship issues that many people face in their personal lives. Despite her keen sense of political strategy and cunning “sixth sense” about her clients’ guilt or innocence, she is the poster child for toxic relationships: clandestine trysts with both President Grant and Jake Ballard; dysfunctional Sunday dinners with her Dad (the head of the secret counterterrorism unit B613); and her cool, calculating exchanges with her Mom (a suspected terrorist), all while leading a team of miscreant Gladiators on their own self-styled crusades for justice.

While we all want to enjoy rewarding connections with others, it becomes essential to evaluate your relationships intelligently: What makes a great relationship? How do you keep a relationship great? What are the warning signs of trouble? While it’s so very easy to blame the other person in a distressed relationship, it’s far more effective to consider and assess the situation objectively and build your Relational IQ.

While I don’t suggest or propose to solve all of her problems, let’s look at the major signs that The People Factor cover mediunsuggest it is time for you to end a toxic relationship. It might be a good time to end a relationship when someone can’t:

  • Accept a change of status in status of your personal or professional life
  • Accept that you’re ready to move on – without them
  • Accept that you do not believe the myth you’ve created about your future

Because there are no neutral relationships – they either move you forward or hold you back – here are some principles to consider – based on my new book The People Factor – that I suggest Olivia Pope, our fictional fixer and so many other women and men tethered to sticky situations should do right now:

  • Be clear about her own life’s journey and what you want in your relationship(s)
  • Don’t get caught up in the blame game
  • Be clear about your goals – personally and professionally
  • Be brutally honest
  • Be open to reconciliation, while not putting yourself or the other person in a holding pattern
  • Recognize that the most valuable people in your life may not be the most visible

Relationships are an art, and most of us lack the skill and mastery to help break—or all together avoid—destructive patterns, disrespect, and deception. Far too many people also lack the ability to have productive connections with others—those that help you achieve goals, sharpen your mind, and generally uplift and enrich your life. Only by cultivating your Relational IQ –knowing which is which and how to turn the tide on those that are negative – can you then take the appropriate action. Not to be taken lightly, these actions and decisions can make the difference between a great, happy life, and one that is riddled with disappointment, failure and regret.

Field expert Van Moody is the author of The People Factor (an upcoming release by publisher Thomas Nelson) and a motivational speaker who advises on matters related to relationships as they pertain to friends, family, significant others and the workplace. He is a “People Scholar” who helps others build their “Relational IQ” to achieve success at home, in their social circles, and in business. He may be reached online at www.vanmoody.com.

Birmingham Author, “People Scholar” Says It’s Time to Tackle Toxic Relationships

The People Factor cover mediun

Pastor Van Moody serves on the board of directors of Joel Osteen’s Champion’s Network

(DALLAS – December 3) Birmingham minister, author and motivational speaker Van Moody says this is the time of the year to find out which relationships are worth keeping, worth changing or ending.

“Relationships either lift you up or weigh you down,” said Moody, author of “THE PEOPLE FACTOR”, a new book that offers insightful advice on building great relationships and ending bad ones. “In light of this universal truth, it’s absolutely critical that you know two things: how much you need to invest in a relationship and which ones must come to an end.

Throughout the pages of “The People Factor,” (paperback, ISBN: 9781400205028, $16.99 U.S.) Moody lays out the steps to building and maintaining genuine, authentic relationships – and how to end toxic relationships.   In a flowing, engaging, attention grabbing style, he provides a beyond-the-basics guide for the critical task of evaluating our relationships intelligently and taking decisive action in kind. Take a look at this video that will give you a preview of the book, and Moody’s approach to this sensitive issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03F-FjsDsbY

Moody, who travels the world teaching people how to raise their relational IQ, offers a basic framework for individuals to evaluate their relationships.  As a people scholar, Moody says most people tend to avoid dealing with relationships – good and bad.  Based on his research over the years, he is available for interviews, seminars and speaking engagements to discuss any of the following topics:

  • Is helping you hurting me? How to know
  • How to have healthy relationships with unhealthy people
  • Sure-fire signs of a toxic relationship
  • Essential elements of a successful relationship
  • ‘Relationship boundaries': why they’re needed and how to set them
  • Signs a relationship is heading south
  • Exit strategy: when and how to end an unhealthy relationship
  • 5 fundamentals of a constructive relational transition

Field expert Van Moody is an author, motivational speaker and media expert source who advises on matters related to relationships as they pertain to friends, family, significant others and the workplace. Moody is an associate trainer in Japan for EQUIP, the world’s largest and most comprehensive grassroots leadership, personal growth and development organization founded by Dr. John C. Maxwell.  He also serves on the board of directors for Joel Osteen’s Champions Network.  Moody earned a B.A. from DePauw University and has lectured in the classrooms of Harvard and Oxford Universities where he, himself, has also studied to further his quest for knowledge in business, economic and community Development.  Moody and his wife reside in Birmingham, Alabama with their two children. Learn more online at www.vanmoody.com.

To book Van Moody, you can contact Neil Foote, neil@neilfoote.com, 214.448.3765

Atlanta Artist Unveils New Painting as Tribute to the Birmingham Church Bombings

Nationally acclaimed Atlanta artist Aaron Henderson has unveiled a poignant painting to recognize the 50th anniversary of the bombing at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

Henderson’s painting, The Corner – Birmingham, 1963”, draws off his persoThe Corner -Birmingham, 1963 - Aaron Hendersonnal life as a child growing up in Birmingham where he was classmates of two of the four girls – Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robinson – murdered in the bombing.  Henderson said it was men like his father, Riley, an ex-Marine who tried to protect him and other children from the racial prejudice that was so prevalent.

The painting will be part of an exhibit, Birmingham 2013: The Movement that Changed the World, that will run from Nov. 5 to December 30th at the Birmingham Central Library, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, Ala.

“The murder of the four little girls heightened the rage in men like my father who had fought America’s wars only to return home the fight America’s apartheid,” writes Henderson, a retired engineer who has become one of the nation’s most profound narrative artists whose work has been on display in exhibits around the world.  “These men found themselves in a corner unable to protect their families from the unrelenting racism and the threat of death from these terrorists who were supported by the white power structure of Birmingham.”

The painting depicts a bearded and moustached African-American man wearing a fedora backed into a corner against one red, one white wall punctuated with the words “Freedom Now”.  With a clenched fist, furled brow and forehead and an open tie draped around his neck, he stares at four dolls, representing the children he is trying to protect.

Henderson has distinguished himself with his Spiritual Series, which is a series of more than 50 pieces over the past 5 years based on his student work-study job as the audio recorder for the world-renowned choir of Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala.  He is always working on a series, which encompass a range of images, including pieces dedicated to the legend of Ganga Zumbi, Afrolantica, which provides a view into his interpretation of paradise. Another series, Music, includes his depiction of the Jazz influence on our culture.  The Deacons for Defense and Justice series, highlights the little-known bands of armed self-defense African-American males who protected their communities against violence from the Ku Klux Klan during the Civil Rights Movement.\

Henderson’s sons, Onaje and Omari, run Zucot Gallery, one of Atlanta’s most successful African-American owned galleries, featuring the works of established and many up and coming artists.  Henderson and his sons travel the country hosting their trademarked “Art Tastings” for corporations such as Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, organizations such as the NAACP and the Executive Leadership Council and private art collectors.  Their seminar help educate art enthusiasts and new buyers on the history of art and how to start or expand their art collections.

To learn more, you can contact Neil Foote, Foote Communications, neil@neilfoote.com, 214.448.3765 or visit the Zucot Gallery, 100 Centennial Olympic Park Drive S, Atlanta, GA 30313  (for GPS use 330 Chapel Street). You can contact the gallery at 404.380.1040 or emailing info@zucotgallery.com.


Premier Art, based in Atlanta, GA, was formed in 1993 by artist Aaron F. Henderson with the express purpose of informing, educating, and inspiring future collectors of original African-American artwork.  The company, now managed and operated by Mr. Henderson’s sons, Onaje and Omari, specializes in comprehensive art consulting services dedicated to supporting internationally acclaimed seasoned African-American artists and the promotion of the visual arts.  The company has been featured in various media formats including HGTV’s Ground Breakers and Loft Life Magazine and works by the artists can be seen in galleries and in the permanent collections of museums around the country.  Premier Art is comprised of a diverse group of professionals whose experience boasts more than 75 years of combined experience.  For additional information or to book an ‘Art Tasting’™ by Premier Art, contact us at the number above or visit www.premierart.net


Prominent Houston Bishop and Cousin of Teen Charged in Lane Murders to Visit Duncan Today

At 3 p.m. in front of Stephens County Jail, Bishop to Condemn Racially Motivated Acts, Gun Violence

(HOUSTON – August 28) As the nation commemorates the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have Dream” speech, Houston Bishop James Dixon, who is the cousin of one of the teens charged in the murder of the Australian baseball player, is meeting privately this morning with local clergy and community leaders to try to ease concerns about teens and gun violence.

Bishop_James_Dixon_Headshot_WebDuring his daylong visit, Dixon will be issuing a statement at 3:00 p.m. in from of the Stephens County Jail, 101 S. 11th St # 104 to condemn racially motivated acts of violence. He will also express his deep regrets to the family of Christopher Lane, and also plans to support efforts to honor Lane’s memory, along side his friends.

Dixon learned about his family ties to James Francis Edwards, Jr., 15, two days ago. Devastated by the news, Dixon said he wants to prevent teens – or anyone –from committing random acts of violence. Pastor Ronald Boyd of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church is hosting the meeting.

As pastor the Community of Faith Church in Houston, Dixon has a long history of work against gun violence. He is founder of Be Your Brother’s Keeper, Not Your Brother’s Killer. The purpose of the movement is to promote the concept of brotherhood within and across lines of race, and to discourage violence by promoting the sanctity of human life. Dixon also is founder of the Safer Place for Me Foundation, a nonprofit committed to “protecting and empowering children” from violence.

For interviews with Bishop Dixon, please contact Neil Foote, Foote Communications, neil@neilfoote.com , 214.448.3765.

Make College Work For You: Commit Yourself to Success

As millions of young women return to college, Deya “Direct” Smith, a former Miss Black U.S.A., media maven, producer and author, urges them to map out their career plan, surround themselves with a “dream team” and stay focused on their goals.

Deya Direct Smith“The point is when people see you ‘doing’ your dream and doing it well, you make those doubters, those haters into believers,” says Smith, author of “Touch Yourself: 30 Ways to Boldly Live, Love and Let Go!” Smith (http://deyadirect.net) “Our days of child-like naiveté’ are gone. Nobody owes us anything. But how you present yourself – prepared and with passion – could make someone want to give you everything.

Smith says college is a time for women to “seize the opportunity to explore options for improving your life and your career.” In her direct, tough-love book, Smith intertwines lessons from her life’s journey with heartfelt advice, targeting younger women who are struggling to get their lives and careers on track. Smith takes on the most difficult subjects from the emotional rollercoaster of everyday life to relationships, finances, health, sex life and succeeding on your job.

Smith invites college women to share their thoughts about how they’re trying to achieve their dreams on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DeyaDirect

“There’s a tendency for women to half-step their ways through life because of unexpected setbacks,” says Smith, who used the disappointment of a divorce from her college sweetheart early in her life to fuel a successful career on Capitol Hill and now in radio as a lead producer for the nationally-syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show (TJMS) which reaches 8 million listeners every week in more than 100 cities. “I’ve been there – divorce, car breaking down, trying to make ends meet paying bills. But you’ve got to say to yourself that you can’t waste your time on the should-haves or the what-might-have-beens, you’ve got to commit yourself to YOU – and what you want to get out of life.

Throughout her book, Smith interjects interviews she has conducted with such celebrities as Pam Grier and Alicia Keys. As Smith has travelled around the country, she says she is hearing from so many women who are eager to start a national dialogue helping women inspire each other.
For college women, “Touching Your Life, Unlocking Your Passion”, addresses everything from how to get out of bad relationships, manage your finances, network and find a job. A key part of her approach is interspersing scriptures from the Bible to emphasize key issues that tie to her core themes.

Smith is the creator and host of Girlfriend FM, a short-form video show-commentary-blog targeting female-driven hot topics on Tom Joyner TV and BlackAmericaWeb.com.

You can purchase “Touch Yourself” online at DeyaDirect.net or on Amazon.com. If you’re interested in a review copy, please contact Neil Foote, Foote Communications, LLC, neil@neilfoote.com, 214.448.3765.

Beauty, Brains and Business: 3 Days, 60 Hard Hitting Speakers, 80 Sessions

3 Days, 60 Hard Hitting Speakers, 80 Sessions!

    This is an amazing day for attendees to interact with over 1000 zealous career women and women entrepreneurs, receive timeless advice from innovative leaders, top experts and explore the hottest new products in the beauty, health and fashion industries. Neil Foote will be presenting, “Your Business, Your Brand, Your Story: How to Create a Media Frenzy and Gain More Publicity,” at 11:45 p.m. August 15 at the Irving Convention Center.
  • BeautyBrainsBusinessNeil
    Attendees will experience some of the world’s most highly reputable influencers where they will discover leadership principles, effective solutions and access to priceless resources to be a more effective leader.
    This day is action-packed with opportunities for startups and growth stage companies to learn powerful insights, gain access to capital and proven strategies to build profitable and sustainable business models in record time.

An economic movement is in full swing, and the MyCEO 2013 Conference is where “beauty meets business”, thought leaders and strategist become one, and influencers bond and strategize to shape the future. Get ready to experience a kinetic convergence of innovators from Silicon Valley, Fortune 500 companies and big thinkers just like you from around the nation.

The 3 day revolution will be monumental. This is it! This is your moment!

Sign up today: http://www.eventbrite.com/affiliate-register?eid=5352431266&affid=26581938

Embrace the opportunity!

Register today!

Houston Bishop Says It’s Time to Create a Safer Place in America for Our Kids








(HOUSTON – July 2) As the nation plans to celebrate the Fourth of July, it’s time for parents to have a plan to keep their kids busy, and more importantly, safe at a time when all forms of violence are fueling fears in communities around the country.

Bishop James Dixon, the Houston pastor who is the founder of Create A Safer Place For Me, is offering his 10 Safer Place Power Tips for the summer and encouraging parents, churches, businesses, community and civic groups to share and implement these helpful ideas how best to keep kids safe, happy and active during these hot – and often – more violent summers.

Bishop_James_Dixon_Headshot_Web“The Number One concern for kids in the summer is safety,” said Bishop Dixon of the Community of Faith Church in Houston. “Most parents don’t have a safety plan, but they definitely need one. These 10 tips are just a few suggestions to help create that plan.  But I know if we all come together, we can make our communities and neighborhoods safer places for our families and kids.”

The 10 Tips were released today as part of a national movement to empower families and communities all over the country to protect their kids from gun violence.  Bishop Dixon is urging parents, teachers, and community leaders to share their tips on the Safer Place For Me Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ASaferPlaceForMe

A Safer Place for Me is a national campaign to encourage all families of all races, incomes and politics to sit down to talk to each about how they eliminate violence in their communities, particular against children. The foundation is asking people to join him and thousands of others to fight violence.  To raise money for the foundation, Dixon II wrote and co-produced with Ernest Walker of Walker Entertainment Group, a powerful song and music video performed by a multicultural children’s choir, “Create a Safer Place for Me”. You can watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVWjan1hW9Y

To interview Dixon and learn more about A Safer Place for Me, contact Neil Foote, Foote Communications, LLC, neil@neilfoote.com, 214.448.3765.

10 Safer Place Power Tips

1. Connect your child with positive people, in positive places to do positive things: A camp, a church program, a youth recreational program.

2. Schedule regular times to speak with your child by phone while you are away at work. For example, every two or three years. The important thing is to communicate. Ask the right questions to get truthful responses.

3. Restrict children from going beyond safe zones. Clearly define the people and places that you consider safe. Try and keep them playing with the same kids, in the same places everyday. Know those kids and know the adults in that place.

4. Partner with the parents of your children’s friends. Ask your kids for a list of their friends. Then reach out to the parents of those kids. Form a parental partnership. Discuss expectations, work and activity schedules, and share daily updates. Create a friends’ list with their name, address, phone number and email address.

5. Give your children a daily list of chores that must be performed in order to keep privileges. Expect and inspect to be sure they are done. Reward success and lovingly punish failure to perform.

6. Talk with kids each day to get details of that day’s experiences. How was it? What did you do? Where did you go? What time did you get there? How long did you stay? Who was there? Who did you see? Did you enjoy it? Where did you go from there? How did you get to the store? Were there any fights? Did anyone get into trouble????

7. Assign one child to be your eyes and ears. Be wise about this. A good way to keep kids focused is to make them responsible. “Call me at 12noon”. “I’m counting on you today”. “Can I depend on you to be honest”?

8. Address anything that looks, sounds or smells suspicious. Assume that something is happening that your kids are not telling you. They are kids! Investigate! Monitor their activities and associates very closely.

9. Visit the places they like to go. Make sure your presence is known by the people they associate with. Distinguish yourself as the parent who cares, is concerned and committed to your children’s well being.

10. Have as much of your children’s day spent at home or in another environment that is well ordered, supervised, positive and safe. Free time and open access to unprotected places and unknown people spells danger.