The inauguration of the first black president was a catalyst for hope within the African-American community. A window opened and made it certain that now is the time to foster the dreams and ambitions of young African-Americans. There are a significant number of black entrepreneurs, lawyers, writers, scientists and other professionals who have achieved not only their dreams, but are leaving a lasting and positive legacy on society.
What if there was a way to shine a spotlight on a wide variety of black professionals to give young people of color the sense that “yes, they can” envision a more expansive future? After a few weeks of brainstorming, an outline was formed for a television program, Seeds of Change. Seeds of Change gives young people of color a broader sense of possibilities. The program is filmed in an upbeat manner to grab the attention of the youth. The series focuses on influential black professionals who, until now, have remained under the radar of most of today’s black youth. All the individual’s profiled have made a significant impact on our culture and each inspirational story will highlight a unique career path.
The show begins with an exciting introduction of a spotlighted professional and brief synopsis of what they do for a living. We are then taken back in time through a journey of their life and upbringing. We’ll find out exactly how the seed of success was planted and how it began to grow. We will learn about their trials and tribulations, along with their invigorating triumphs. It literally is a “day in the life.”
Throughout journeys of achievement and excellence, we enable young people to see how the fire of hope begins, how it spreads, and how the initial spark can end up opening doors unknown or previously thought closed. The underlying mantra of “Seeds Of Change” is that one can plant seeds that will ultimately change ones life, those around them, and the greater society.
Nicole, the founder and executive director of G.R.O.W., brought this idea to the director of programming at BET. The director of programming loved the idea and asked Nicole to line up individuals who would be profiled to be presented at a pitch meeting three weeks later.
Within three weeks over twenty letters of intent were obtained from exceptional individuals such as:
- Danyle Smith, editor-in-chief at VIBE magazine.
- Larry Harper, general manager of Nike USA.
- Dr. Farrah Grey, an entrepreneurial self-made millionaire.
- LaRonda Sutton, Jamie Foxx’s business manager.
- Aaron Walton, co-founder of Walton Isaacson, a full service brand-building firm.
- Rossie E. Turman, a finance lawyer and partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
- Mona Scott, Missy Elliot’s manager and businesswoman.
- Carol Williams, CEO and founder of Carol Williams Advertising Company.
- Jeffrey Orridge, COO for Right To Play, a global humanitarian organization.
- Philip Haynie, farmer of over 200,000 acres of land in VA.
Each story was uniquely interesting and engaging. During the three-week period before the meeting, BET hired a new President and the majority of the staff was replaced. Because of the transition the meeting never happened and the project was shelved, but it has since expanded. Due to the fact that major networks typically buy shows and reformat them to fit their needs, it was decided to take the back door instead of the front door with this project in order to stay true to the vision.
In November 2012 we received the approval for our 501 (c) (3) nonprofit status and Growing Real Opportunities in the Workforce (G.R.O.W.) was born. G.R.O.W. employs the original concept and offers programs that work directly with all youth regardless of their race or gender. The programs are designed to help youth find their strengths and passions and assist them with job placement.