Career exploration for youth, donation for The Study Hall
Sometimes it takes 3D glasses to tell the author from the accountant. Tribe, an Atlanta-based internal communications agency, recently engaged third, fourth and fifth graders at The Study Hall - an after school program serving the Peoplestown community - in a 3D Mystery Career Game that challenged them to guess the professions of over 20 successful Atlantans.
“Almost all of these scholars are African-American, so our goal for the event was to expose them to a broad, broad range of successful professionals who look like them,” says Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin, Tribe’s founder and CEO. “We came up with the 3D angle because we wanted to 'gamify' the event, which is something we often do for our clients’ employee engagement initiatives, and which helped make things fun and engaging for the kids.”
Mystery professionals included Clyde Anderson, CNN Financial Lifestyle Contributor; Tameeka Thomas-Ekpe, the first African-American woman to run an Embassy Suites Hotel; Vita Sims, loan administrative officer at the Private Bank of Buckhead; and Aaron Cotteral, former NFL player and now a personal trainer at Life Time Fitness. Detective Marchmon Ross came directly from the airport, having just returned from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Companies represented by the panel of Mystery Professionals included The Home Depot, Coca-Cola Refreshments, LexisNexis, CBeyond, Interface, Juneau Construction and Havertys.
For the game, which took place at The Study Hall on September 7, Tribe supplied each Mystery Professional with a small sign bearing a clue to their profession, visible only with the 3D glasses worn by the kids. By making their way from one professional to the next, the scholars matched each adult to his or her job with the help of the 3D clue – and by asking questions that could be answered only yes or no.
After the game, the Mystery Professionals formed a panel to answer questions about their childhoods and the decisions they made that led to their current success. Clyde Anderson spoke of having to distance himself from his five best friends when they began making poor choices. “It was very difficult,” he says. “They were my buddies.” But he knew he wanted a different future for himself. “Now I write letters to two of them in jail every month.”
Mahogany Rhodes, a Realtor with Keller Williams, told how her 12 best girlfriends in her south Los Angeles neighborhood all became addicts at some point. “I was not any smarter than any of those girls, but I chose to study and stay good versus getting high,” she said. “I knew I didn’t want that life and I chose every day to avoid it. And I was the only one who made it out of the neighborhood and into college.”
Tameeka Thomas-Ekpe of Embassy Suites shared how she made the choice to come home and study in the afternoons, instead of hanging out in the street with her friends. “Sometimes I’d come home and the lights would be out, or the water, because my mother hadn’t been able to pay the bill,” she says. “Still, you can decide to succeed, even in those sorts of circumstances. Staying in school saved me and college and education were the keys to my success and beating the odds.”
Jacquetta Watkins, executive director of The Study Hall, reminded the young scholars that she’d talked with some of them dealing with similar issues, even since this school year began several weeks ago. “Remember what we’re doing here at The Study Hall,” she says. “Changing minds. Improving lives.”
The young scholars left the event with business cards for each of the Mystery Professionals along with a goodie bag of promotional items contributed from the companies participating. Baskin and the Tribe team also contributed something, a $5,000 donation to The Study Hall.
The Study Hall after-school program provides educational and enrichment programs for 90+ kids from kindergarten through fifth grade. The goal is to help them achieve and sustain academic success. Currently, 80 percent of these scholars maintain a B+ or better grade point average.
Tribe develops strategic plans, employee communications and engagement programs to build internal culture. It works with national and global brands including UPS, Porsche, Target and Coca-Cola Refreshments. Tribe gives 10 percent of its annual profits to organizations that create better futures for children and young people.