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Home Explore Un-Rappin’ the Gift Annual Newsletter

Un-Rappin’ the Gift Annual Newsletter

Published by latoniahicksoakley, 2017-06-24 00:54:28

Description: Please take the time to read our annua

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UN-RAPPIN` THE G.I.F.T AND HE-MATTERS 2016 - 2017 ANNUAL NEWSLETTER Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

MOTHER-DAUGHTER BALL… Our 2016 Mother-Daughter ball was another outstanding event. We had over 300 people in attendance and this year we included our dads. The evening began with a delicious dinner catered by Forsyth Restaurant in Henderson NC. Our guest was entertained by Un-Rappin the Gift and He-Matters program teens as they walked the runway showing off various fashion styles and techniques for every occasion during their first ever Fashion Show. The scenes included professional attire, summer attire, athletic wear, an all-white clothing scene and my favorite was a formal scene which included the U.T.G. ladies escorted by their fathers. This scene ended with the dads serenading their daughters with a dance and a kiss. This emotional moment had everyone in attendance crying. Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

BROADENING OUR HORIZONS… Experience is a major component in a child’s growth and development. We often encourage our youth to pursue after their dreams. We continuously tell them that with hard work and steadfastness nothing is impossible; the sky is the limit. However, I am now realizing that the hardwork and the steadfastness with our youth is not the primary issue, but rather its the lack of exposure that creates the impossibilities for many of our youth. If your only dream is what you already see and know, is it really a dream worth persuing or does it become a non-invigorating process of mastering your already attained reality mistaken by most as “laziness”. It is a primary goal of U.T.G.H.M programs to increase the mindset of everyday norms to expectencies with no limits. We do this through cultural awareness, prosocial activities, and educational exposure. This year our teens were able to travel to New York City for 3 nights and 4 days. They were able to see where the people that they admire the most found their start. While touring New York with our experience tour guide the kids visited several historical landmarks. We toured the Twin Towers museum, Statue of Liberty, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park, Brox Zoo, and Empire State Building. They were able to see a play on Broadway and a live taping at the Apollo Theater. We also ate dinner in Time Square and visited Good Morning America. This experience was a once in a life time for some and the beginning of dreams for most! Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS Judge Carolyn Thompson It was an honor and a privilege to have the Honorable Judge Carolyn Thompson to speak with our teens on “Healthy Relationships” as part of Domestic Violence awareness month. Her presentation was very insightful and engaging to all in attendance. Judge Thompson began the session by having the teens to complete a questionnaire to assess their current relationship status and to determine if they were currently involved in an abusive relationship. To their dismay many were involved in unhealthy relationships unknowingly. Judge Thompson explained in great details the signs of unhealthy relationships as well as their lasting implications. Judge Thompson also discussed the fast-emerging topic known by most teens, “sexting”. She explained the criminal penalties for all involved and the deformation of integrity that this creates. The teens were in awe when were informed that sexting is a form of child pornography and the weighted felony charges that accompanies it. To say the least this was a phenomenal lecture! Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS Reverend Phyllis Kimball Cozart Reverend Phyllis Kimball Cozart was the guest lecturer at Un-Rappin` the Gift during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As a breast cancer survivor, her testimony was emotional, eye-opening and empowering to all that heard her story. She reminded the teens of the importance of performing self-breast exams monthly and to encourage the adults in their lives to get yearly mammograms. Many of the teens were in awe as well as myself at the strength of this survivor. I must admit although her story was empowering it also frightened me such that I received my FIRST mammogram within one month of her visit. I had always feared the pain that this dreaded procedure may cause but now realizing that not being proactive could very well bring pain to all that care about me. Breast cancer is examinations SAVE LIVES! Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

U.T.G.H.M TEENS GIVE BACK!!!! Dana McKeithan In November 2016, the U.T.G.H.M teens participated in a community service project to show kindness as so many have shown to us. This year we decided that we would find someone truly in need of assistance and show them the true meaning of community involvement. Dana McKeithan, a true community activists in her own right, was the recipient of our teens’ kindness and appreciation toward others. Ms. Mack, as she is passionately called by many, was diagnosed with Cancer in 2014 and has been unable to walk since the news of her illness. Before her health declined she was most notably called upon by her community, church members, friends, family and strangers to advocate for those who were unable to advocate for themselves. She has helped hundreds of youth during their time of need to overcome hurdles and successfully progress to unimaginable heights. We thought it only to be a small reciprocal deed to now assist her in the same manner. The kids loaded into a van with cleaning items, rakes, trash bags etc. and headed to Butner to pay Homage to a local SHEROE! They were most excited and enthused to clean both the inside and the outside of her house. Ms. Mack was over joyed by their presence and greeted them with a big hug calling each of them her “sugar-foot”. Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

POLITICAL AWARENESS Election Day is one of the most interactive and controversial days in the US. This year we decided to allow our kids to experience events leading up to the election and to get first-hand knowledge on what happens during the voting process. We accompanied our He-Matters guys to Winston Salem NC to hear the Reverend William Barber at Union Baptist Church. The guys listened as he and local officials discussed their political views on the Presidential Election. We discussed their thoughts and concerns over dinner later that evening. On another occasion, several of the youth from both Un-Rappin` the Gift and He-Matters volunteered at the voting poles during early election and boy did they learn a lot. Many were surprised at the amount of people and the seriousness of the voting process. Others were disappointed at the attitudes of all parties and how they were treated by awaiting voters as they tried to assist. But never- the-less they all await anxiously to become of age and finally receive their opportunity to VOTE! Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

IN THE SPIRIT OF GIVING… Un-Rappin` the Gift and He-Matters kept with their annual traditions of good eating, good music, and lots of dancing as we prepared for the Christmas Break. Only this year we decided to add more holiday giving to our list of traditions. We decided to adopt a Senior Citizen to donate non-perishable items to. The teens still filled with overwhelming emotions from their community service recepient thought it necessary to provide Ms. Mack with those non-perishable items. So during our Christmas Dinner the kids brought in several items and we packaged them in an oversized gift bag. I had the honor of delivering her the goods. She was again delighted and most grateful at their thoughtfulness. I personally would like to THANK all of the parents that purchased items on behalf of their teen to make this event possible. The teens are learning during each act of kindness that it is just as fulfilling to give as it is to receive. Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

TRAINING THEM UP… It is my desire that the teens which participate in the programs can one day develop the skills and the desire to come back to run the program or even begin one of their own. Well I am so excited to share that one of our very own, Ms. Zirrisse Jones, has taken a vested interest in learning the various roles of the program. She is seen in the picture below actually carrying out the intake process for a new student. Ms. Jones is a junior ambassador for our new intake process and she is often called upon by her peers whenever they need support. She is the spokesperson for the teens when we travel. This young lady possesses strong leadership skills and is destined, as with many of our youth, to excel. Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

STEPPIN` TO THEIR OWN BEAT… As many of you are already familiar with our phenomenal step team, I’m sure you are unaware of how often they are sought out because of their rhythm and beat. This January the kids had a wonderful opportunity as the opening act at the Carolina Theater! They were treated with such professionalism, integrity and the fact that they had their own dressing room as well as a make-up artist gave them a glimpse of what’s in store for them as SUPERSTARDOM awaits! To add excitement to their already raised egos they were invited to participate in the Martin Luther King parade in February in Durham NC. They have taken the phrase “Steppin` To My Own Beat” to another level! Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

CAREER CHOICES… How difficult was it for you to decide what you wanted to be as a child? How often did you change your mind while growing up? How many of you took a job into a field of what you thought you wanted to do only to get there and realize that this is not for me. Well because that has been my experience on many occasions, I thought it necessary to try and prevent the teens of U.T.G.H.M from making those same mistakes. This year during spring break we allowed the teens to job shadow at the business of their choice to gain first-hand knowledge to determine if this is what they really wanted to do. It was a very rewarding experience for all and it solidified many of their career choices. I would like to say a special thank you to the following businesses for allowing our students to shadow: Oxford Police Department, Oxford Fire Department, Granville County Sherriff’s Department, Kendra’s Bails Bond, Tabbs Creek Animal Hospital, Granville Health Systems, Allen Home of Funerals, Granville County District Attorney’s Office, Granville County Economic Development, Teach-A-Tot Daycare, and Kids-Academy Daycare, Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

ENTREPRENEURSHIP… Keeping within the same vein as the Career Choices segment of our program, we decided this year to add an additional component. Although it is the hope of both programs that all our students would go to college, we realize that sometime traditional college isn’t for everyone. So, to ensure that success is within the reach of all our students we decided to teach entrepreneurship skills. In doing so we added two new businesses within the Un-Rappin` the Gift and He-Matters programs; U.T.G.H.M EVENT SERVICES & DÉCOR and U.T.G.H.M T-SHIRT DESIGNS & MORE! The students designed detailed business plans for both, created organization roles and responsibilities, basic graphic layouts, floral designs, decorative ideas, and much more. Both businesses plan to launch in the fall and will begin accepting customers at that time. U.T.G.H.M EVENT SERVICES & DÉCOR will provide professional and trusted event planning services that assist individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations in organizing all their events. U.T.G.H.M T-SHIRT DESIGNS will offer the finest in custom shirt sublimation production and to provide high quality t-shirt designs and printing services to individuals and businesses. U.T.G.H.M T-Shirt Designs will offer customers the best product at the best price. Customer's expectations will always be exceeded. Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

ENTREPRENEURSHIP training… Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2017 HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES DESTINY DAVIS AND NICARDA BULLOCK BOTH WILL BE ATTENDING WINSTON SALEM STATE UNIVERSITY GO RAMS!!!!! OUR KIDS ROCK!!!! Again, I want to thank you for allowing me and my staff to be a vital part in your teen’s life. A special THANK YOU to Ms. Shonda McCoy, my wonderful volunteer, for your dedication to these programs. I love you beyond words. Again, I thank you for the opportunity to work with your teen and look forward to our continued relationship. Latonia H. Oakley Founder & Facilitator Latonia Oakley, Founder, PO Box 926, Oxford NC 27565 919.691.0091 |

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