FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 11, 2018) – At its meeting yesterday in Frankfort, the Kentucky Board of Education presented the Dr. Samuel Robinson Award to the Black Males Working (BMW) Academy program.
Since 2004, the Dr. Samuel Robinson Award has been conferred on an individual or group in Kentucky for outstanding leadership, commitment and service in promoting equity and opportunity to learn at high levels for all Kentucky students.
Roszalyn Akins, who co-founded the program with Dr. Roger Cleveland, was presented the award at the board’s meeting.
For the past 14 years, Cleveland and Akins have been mentoring and providing disadvantaged males of color an opportunity to listen to dynamic presenters, accelerate their learning through tutoring and explore their country and other parts of the world through field trips.
The BMW program meets every Saturday for students in pre-K through high school. What once began as a program at Leestown Middle School in Lexington, has now expanded to four different sites across the city. The program hosts students from Fayette County as well as surrounding Kentucky counties and instills accountability and pride for its participants, teaching them important skills and knowledge, as well as appropriate conduct and behavior. The program also includes a parental component where parents must pledge to attend sessions with the youth, provide a safe and quiet place at home for the children to learn, and provide transportation to and from the program.
Jimmy Meadows, Jr., who nominated the program for the award, said BMW is now seeing the many “fruits of its labor”, as former students frequently come back to share college and workforce experiences and to mentor other young people.
“BMW definitely meets the criteria of leadership, commitment and service to equity at all levels,” Meadows said.
Dr. Samuel Robinson, for whom the award is named, is a former educator who served on the Kentucky Board of Education from 1991 to 2004 and is known for being a racial and social justice advocate and for promoting the difference education can make in the lives of all students.