Nonprofit Graduate Students From The Program To Become Better Humans | Unfiltered with Kiran

“The world is your oyster” is a popular phrase that inspired a local nonprofit in Baton Rouge to teach kids that America is an oyster of opportunity.

Bea Gyimah is the president and founder of America, My Oyster Association, an organization dedicated to celebrating the victories of all individuals in America.

America, the president and founder of the My Oyster association, Bea Gyimah, addresses the audience at the program’s graduation ceremony on July 23.

“We seek to preserve the diverse histories, recognize the different struggles, and celebrate the victories of all individuals in America, those born here and those who immigrated to this country,” Gyimah said. “We also have an education component because we want young people or anyone who is continuing their education to see their high school or college education as their ticket to the American dream, and then look beyond their current situation and keep their eyes on the price.”

The name of the organization comes from the popular saying “the world is your oyster”, and the name is also partly inspired by Zora Neale Hurston’s essay “How does it feel to be colored me”.

“We know that there are only glaring and distinctive historic barriers and obstacles in America that persist and permeate this country,” Gyimah said. “But at the same time, we believe that not only the world, but America continues to be that proverbial oyster of opportunity. And if you have tenacity, empathy, resilience, integrity and hard work, you can become whoever you seek to become in America and if not, you might achieve the second best thing.

The Building a Better America Today program offers various online certification courses

Classes are offered as part of the Building a Better America Today program. The program, made possible through the partnership of AMOA and the EBR Parish Library, is now in its second year.

AMOA partners with the East Baton Rouge Parish Library as well as other community partners. The organization offers online certification training specializing in diversity, equity, inclusion, and empathy for middle and high school and college students, recent graduates, working professionals, and adult learners.

Training is done through LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, which is an online learning and teaching marketplace. All of this is brought to students through the East Baton Rouge parish library system, according to Gyimah. Students can register for free as long as they have an EBR library card.

Gyimah said the classes are based on the student’s classification. Middle school-aged children take a “Communicating with Empathy Class” and an “Unconscious Bias Class.”

Students take lessons at their own pace

Gyimah said that since classes are online, the student decides when to complete their work. The courses ranged from communicating with empathy to the psychology of diversity.

“We want to help build the kind of leaders we can all be proud of,” Gyimah said. “We want them to be leaders in school. One of the ways we do this is that everyone has to take a mandatory empathy course. There are several other classes but the bare bones are unconscious bias and communicating with empathy because we believe that with the right level of empathy you can build someone’s world and a lack of empathy can tear it down somebody.

The program doubled the number of graduates from year 1 to year 2

Gyimah said 25 people graduated from the program in its first year in 2021. Fifty-eight people graduated in the 2022 ceremony held on July 23 at the main branch of the library. East Baton Rouge Parish.

Dr. Tina M. Harris receives a medal after her keynote address at the AMOA graduation ceremony July 23.

Graduates were honored with certificates signed by Governor John Bel Edwards’ office and Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.

Tina Harris, Ph.D., delivered the commencement address at the graduation ceremony. Harris is the first Douglas Manship-Dori I. Maynard Endowed Chair of Race, Media and Cultural Literacy at LSU.

“I’ve always wanted to cultivate in individuals an ability to know that they have greatness and that everyone has different levels of greatness,” Gyimah said. “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to start the program and give them an edge on how they market themselves later in life with these certifications, but also give them the foundation to make them a better nobody. It is not enough for a student to graduate if he has no values ​​if he does not know how to conduct himself and behave.

For more information, visit theamoa.org.

Ryan H. Bowman