Many students of color perceive the pursuit of sports as a means of attaining success in life.  Because of the short lifespan of professional sports careers and the extremely competitive environment, the CJA Education committee conceived of this workshop to provide a view of career opportunities off the field but still related to sports and the business of sports.

On December 16, 2017 60  HS student athletes (both boys and girls) from schools in the central NJ area gathered at New Brunswick High School.

The goals of the session were to

  • Motivate students to aim high, excel and use their interest in sports to change their lives.
  • Inform students about alternative career paths in the sports industry beyond the playing field.
  • Inform students about what they need to do to prepare for college

This was the second offering of the Use Sports Workshop which was held at Sharon Baptist Church last December. The new format kept the panel discussion and added a wonderfully engaging set of breakout sessions that provided more opportunity for the students to speak individually with the panelists.

The day began with refreshments and an introduction to the workshop.  The students were given the group rules and expectations for the day.

The panelists had 5 minutes to set the stage, introduce themselves and their career and share words to motivate and inspire the students.

  • Bill Daughtry - Retired ESPN Sports Broadcasters/WBGO DJ
  • Allan Boomer - Sports Manager
  • Jim Hunt - Financial Investment Advisor
  • Rebekah Solomon - Physical Education/Administrator, Franklin Township
  • Shaaliyah Lyons - Seton Hall University, Director of Basketball Operations
  • Nathaniel Harris - Academic Coach - “Play It Smart” New Brunswick High School
  • Taylor Culp - Student Athlete - Psychology Major, Montclair State University

Soror Brenda Edwards-Miller followed up the panel with engaging questions for the students about what they had heard. After the Panel Share, students were divided into small groups in order to conduct “Career Talks” with the panelists. During the “Career Talks”, panelist facilitated a more i- depth discussion about their careers; shared career related handouts; and engaged students in a dialogue about next steps in life. Rotations were conducted, in effort for students to interact with each panelist. Overall, students learned about different careers, NCAA rules and eligibility, and what it means to be a student athlete. The program conclude with the students completing a “Reflection Form” of the day over lunch.

A delicious lunch was enjoyed by the attendees and the participants were encouraged to share their reflections with evaluations.

The students reactions were illuminating as many began to understand how to use lessons learned on the field and apply them for success in life, how to use their competitive spirit to excel in the classroom , and how to balance school work,  sports and other responsibilities and most importantly, how to be coachable, believe in themselves and stay confident -  they shared

  • ❖ I liked the presenters, and how they talked about their lives.
  • ❖ I think the workshop was excellent and very motivational.
  • ❖ I enjoyed the day. It was fun and interesting
  • ❖ Develop skills that take you beyond sports
  • ❖ I learned through the discussions to have discipline and focus, determination and perseverance, good grades, be coachable, to get the priorities done first before fun

The students were also asked which new topics were of interest and they shared areas that would bring them back to another workshop.

  • “Out of state” student: How to Adjust to Life Away From Home
  • Being a First Generation College Student
  • Being a Minority in a Predominantly White Institution
  • Life at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • How To Get Recruited?
  • Sports Management Careers.
  • Finding Out What You Want To Do In Life, Career Exploration.
  • How to Communicate With Others.
  • Social Media Safety.
  • Extracurricular Activities

The committee was fortunate to have Delta husbands and visiting Sorors to help with the event and we than Nathaniel Harris for his excellent planning and collaboration in helping to present the program. Sorors Brenda Edwards-Miller, Michelle Fielder and Myra Mitchell facilitated the workshop. Visiting Sorors were Brett Savage-Simon and Stacia Neals.