Published October 06, 2012
WASHINGTON – The United Negro College Fund has recruited a crop of celebrities to drive home the message that getting into college is one thing, but getting through it is another.
The 5th annual UNCF Empower Me Tour kicks off Saturday at George Washington University in the nation's capital. It is co-hosted by Grammy-nominated singer Ledisi, and actors Boris Kodjoe, Kim Coles and Lamman Rucker, among others.
The celebrities will participate in sessions on various topics such as seeking scholarships, financial aid, internships, networking and branding. There also will be professional resume critiques, healthy cooking demonstrations, interactive games, prizes and music by celebrity DJs.
"We're there to give, we're there to impart something to them, but the truth is I always leave inspired by them and by their view of the world," said Coles, who has participated in past UNCF tours.
The 10-city tour will travel through next spring to Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, Minneapolis, Charlotte, N.C. and Hampton, Va. Stars who will join the tour in other cities include actress Tatyana Ali, singer Kenny Lattimore, reality star Toya Wright, model-actress Kenya Moore, former Essence Magazine editor Susan L. Taylor and radio host Warren Ballentine.
Coles, who recently starred in TV Land's "Soul Man" and is best known for her stints on Fox's "Living Single" and "In Living Color," will lead her own workshop, "PMS: Power, Money and Success," which she said encourages students to define power and success before they pursue higher education, and gives them guidance on how money works, "so they don't get caught up in the credit trap that often happens in college."
Paulette Jackson, UNCF's vice president of development, said it's critically important to reach and prepare students — even those who are in middle school — so they don't waste resources or time taking the wrong courses in high school or remedial courses their first years of college. The tour will also educate parents on resources available to help them navigate their child through college, she said.
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