Facebook Town Hall: Healing our Communities
July 1, 2020 at 1 pm

Join Rowan College at Burlington County at 1 pm, on July 1, as we invite several non-profit, non-partisan community partners to discuss how they are preparing and supporting young leaders in building a brighter future. 

RCBC’s Vice President of Workforce Development Anna Payanzo Cotton will join Dr. Amy Dean of Faith in Action, Seigha Omuso of The Opportunity League and coach of the RCBC Barons basketball team, Curtis Myers of Aspire Youth Development and RCBC alum Eric Miller, a member of the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE). 

Miller, who completed his engineering degree from Rowan University, now works as a mechanical engineer for Leonardo Helicopters in Philadelphia. There, he designs and certifies systems for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He personally benefitted from his time at The Opportunity League, an organization that builds communities and provides opportunities in education and sports, where he developed his leadership and communication skills. 

“When I first started, I reached out and did fundraising, completed office work with organizational data, and I eventually worked my way up to the team leadership program where I worked as a teacher and was able to learn from my students,” Miller shared. 

Omuso, founder and director of The Opportunity League, started the organization in his early 20s. For the last 12 years, he’s dedicated his life to helping students transition and advance through various life stages and grade levels. 

“We develop students from start to finish. Our goal is to build leadership skills, encourage social development and assist with decision-making regarding career paths as they get older,” said Omuso, who also serves as head coach of the men’s basketball team at RCBC. 

Omuso commented that when he started the organization, he had no idea the impact it would have on young people. Now, during the current civil unrest, he realizes their work is more critical than ever. 

“We see that young people want to be a part of that change,” he shared. “Young people are the leaders of our tomorrow.” 

With regard to being part of the change, Dr. Amy Dean, founder and executive director of Faith in Action, spends most of her time shaping future leaders. Faith in Action, founded in 1994, specializes in performing arts, mentoring and leadership. In 1998, they partnered with RCBC to run the summer performing arts camp. 

“Faith in Action creates a platform for systemic, social change for the more pressing, present conversation we’re having now,” Anna Payanzo Cotton said. “Marginalized voices are being amplified more greatly now, and this organization helps young leaders reach this change. Our young leaders are going to heal us from ourselves.” 

According to Dr. Dean, Faith in Action provides youth the support they need, including self-esteem and leadership development, so they can take action to bring about the change that’s needed. 

“We take the time to understand their perspectives, and give them the tools they need to implement real change,” she said. 

Curtis Myers, founder and president of Aspire Youth Development, focuses on empowering and encouraging young people. His organization has successfully engaged thousands of participants in training programs on leadership, diversity, mentoring, social responsibility, civic engagement and career development. They partner with RCBC on workforce development training for young adults. 

“I’m encouraged to see the amount of young people involved in this movement. Historically, that’s nothing new. Every great movement has a lot of young voices. Our goal is to provide context and counsel while not trying to squelch their fire,” Myers said. 

We look forward to hosting this important discussion. As always, feel free to ask questions throughout the livestream.