The National Urban League recently held their 2018 Join Week. Join Week is a national membership drive run by the Young Professionals Chapter. The themed-based program is a week-long event that promotes the mission, goals and various services that the Urban League provides. This year’s theme was “Empowered to Lead”.
I had the pleasure of attending a few of Essex County’s Young Professionals events that began on Tuesday, January 23rd and concluded on Monday, January 29th. Each day consisted of an event such as
- The Kick-Off
- All Hands on Deck Game Night
- Empower The Dream Day of Mentorship
- Lituation Linner
- New Year. New Credit
The Kick-Off event took place at Eleven Clinton Southern Blues in Newark, New Jersey.
Upon arrival, I was greeted with a warm welcome from the current Executive Board and Committee members. In addition, I received materials about the organization such as the Annual Fiscal Year Report from Essex County’s chapter for 2016-2017. It was fascinating to read about the vast impact that the chapter has made in the community.
I wanted to further my understanding of the Young Professionals chapter so I spoke with this year’s President, Porchè Hardy. Ms. Hardy joined the chapter in January of 2015 after she completed her studies at Rutgers University. Ms. Hardy has always had a passion for serving the community so she decided to join the Membership Chair Committee from 2015-2016. Soon after, she became the Vice President prior to her current role as President. When asked about her current goals for this year’s chapter she stated that she wanted, “to increase mentorship in the community with black professionals, obtain more money to fund programs towards college access for high school students, and provide more awareness and civic engagement among its members and community”.
Later that evening, Ms. Hardy collectively spoke to the attendees about the vision of the Young Professionals chapter along with the benefits of becoming a member. The 2018 Executive Board and Committee Members were also able to introduce themselves and briefly share their role and responsibilities. The remainder of the evening consisted of networking while attendees were able to partake in delicious foods and drinks served at Eleven Clinton Southern Blues.
All Hands On Deck Game Night Event
Game night was filled with energetic rounds of games such as Jenga, Taboo, Spades, and UNO at Taste Venue located in Newark, New Jersey.
The event opened up with an intense game created by 2 of the chapter’s members who are currently engaged, Alyssa Menard and Darnell Gilet. The game they created is called: The House Party The Game. The 90’s themed edition game brought laughter and unity as each team was determined to win a copy of the game to take home. The game featured creative questions from various genres such as music, movies, and more. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the winning team, Team Full Effect, so we each walked away with a FREE game.
Team Full Effect: (Far Left Side: Jacelyn Matthews, Georgia Davies) (Far Right Side: John Gavin White, Myself, Kendall Givens)
Empower the Dream Day of Mentorship
The community event was a day for youths in the community to be empowered and educated on what it truly takes to be successful. Youths from programs such as Newark Street Squash and She Wins were in attendance.
There, youths were able to hear from representatives from the following schools:
Each representative shared their personal story about their educational track and assured every single person in the room that there is freedom in education. I currently work at a high school in Manhattan, New York and rarely do I hear representatives from colleges and universities share their personal stories. So the transparency and authenticity that was shared created an atmosphere of hope for the youths and adults in the room.
Throughout the rest of the day, the attendees were schooled on the importance of leadership from one of the chapter’s member, Al Hardy. During the presentation, attendees learned about the power of having a mentor, the importance of legacy, and they were able to take a Youth Leadership quiz that measured their level of leadership.
Furthermore, youths had the opportunity to speak and learn from adults from careers in social work, teaching, medical, and more. Youths were able to have one-on-one conversations about goal setting, overcoming barriers, the importance of passion, and steps to take in order to become college and career ready.
The remainder of Join Week consisted of a lunch/dinner at Vital Dining where members learned more about the great things coming to Essex County from the chapter. As well as a financial workshop, New Year New Credit, that took place at Seton Hall University.
As you can see, Join Week upheld and showcased to the community and prospective members this year’s theme of being “empowered to lead” and I am certain that anyone who attended an event felt, empowered to lead.
If you would like additional information about joining Essex County’s Urban League Young Professionals chapter please visit their Instagram page HERE.
If you would like additional information about the Urban League of Essex County to be sure to visit their website at www.ulec.org