Encouraged by their contribution to a 78 percent increase in African Americans applying to the California State University (CSU), Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) President F. King Alexander and others on Feb. 28 will again address church congregations to discuss early college preparation during the fifth annual CSU Super Sunday.The program is part of the CSU's African American Initiative, which strives to find new ways to educate youth and parents about the value of a college degree and the steps that must be completed in launching a successful college career. Alexander will speak at Friendship Baptist Church, located at 17145 Bastanchury Road in Yorba Linda during the 8 to 11:30 a.m. service. CSULB Vice President for Student Services Douglas Robinson will address the congregation at First AME Church, located at 2270 S. Harvard Boulevard in Los Angeles during the 8 to 10 a.m. service. "Over the past five years, Super Sunday has proven to be an increasingly important component of California State University's and Cal State Long Beach's overall commitment in reaching out to local and regional underserved communities," said Alexander. "Because of our, CSU's and the churches' efforts, tens-of-thousands of students and their families learn that planning for college should start as early as the sixth grade." Since Jan. 31, CSU officials, such as Chancellor Charles Reed, trustees, campus presidents, and other higher education representatives have been reaching out to more than 100,000 families in 100 African American churches throughout the state. In 2005, Super Sunday was launched with only 11 churches in Los Angeles and 13 churches in Northern California. In just five years, the initiative has contributed to a 78 percent increase in the number of African American students applying for freshman admission to the 23 CSU campuses and a 20 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment by African American students. Besides promoting higher education, CSULB speakers will also highlight the role of parental involvement and early preparation in facilitating successful access to college for African Americans. "As long as the need is there, and that need is apparently increasing, we will continue to deliver these messages each year, because the data shows that our efforts are paying off. We believe that good information drives good decisions for children, students and families," said Alexander. "Therefore, it is our responsibility to reach beyond the confines and comfort of our own campuses to put important college-bound information about what students should be studying and learning in order to prepare adequately." Also speaking and representing CSULB during Super Sunday will be Hearst Scholar Tanisha Washington, a management information systems/applications development graduate student at CSULB who will address church goers at Price Chapel AME Church at 4000 W. Slauson Ave. in Los Angeles at 11 a.m. Washington earned the prestigious William R. Hearst/CSU Trustees Award after demonstrating the courage and tenacity to go from briefly living in poverty on Skid Row, to becoming a top CSULB student while, in her "spare time," translating textbooks into Braille and helping struggling college students and impoverished children. Corion Lucas will speak at Holy Trinity AME Church in Long Beach at 9:30 a.m. Lucas is the campus tours and special projects assistant at CSULB. The complete list of churches and schedule of events is available online and includes locations in Northern California, Southern California and Fresno. "It is amazing how broad the scope and reach of Super Sunday has become. Now, outreach staff work with the congregations throughout the year on college outreach programs. We have also further developed our financial aid workshops and have expanded distribution of college materials to sixth-12th grade students and their parents," said Robinson. "The church educational advisers and liaisons who work directly with young students and their families are phenomenal. We are definitely making a difference here in Long Beach and across the state."
********** Published: February 19, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 44