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The 2009 "Behind the Scenes!" cast is committed to making sure that we empower you to live a successful life by creating a safe place for teens to grow!


Introducing our 2009 class of stars!
We have chosen 41 students ages 13-18 from Central Florida
to join us on our journey this year.


Our Behind the Scenes team is dedicated to serving with a spirit of excellence!
We have a variety of backgrounds including educators, lawyers, social workers, guidance counselors, entrepreneurs, financial aid manager and a workforce trainer.


Executive Director Veraunda with Stage Crew Leader, Kim
A special thank you to Valencia Community College for partnering with us
and hosting our empowerment sessions!

Meeting dates and locations
January 10th 9am-noon
VCC- West Campus

*Dream big! - Veraunda I. Jackson, Esquire
- Vern Graham - General Manager of Walmart
*What's your gift? - Dr. Tania Morales - Family Practioner
*You have to love you! - Monica May - Radio Personality


Monica May, Vern Graham, Dr. Tania Morales, Veraunda Jackson
Our January 10th speakers were inspiring!

Star 94.5 Radio Personality Monica May discussed the importance of self esteem
Walmart General Manager Vern Graham discussed the importance of dreaming big
Family Doctor, Tania Morales discussed the importance of discovering your gift and I, opened our session with the importance of dreaming big, working hard, staying focused, and believing in yourself so that you can live your dreams!


We bring the book to life by giving our students the opportunity to get their copy of
"Behind the Scenes!" autographed by our speakers

January 31st 9am-noon
VCC- west campus
Parents/Guardians ONLY!
*What did you say? - Veraunda I. Jackson, Esquire
*Parenting by design! - Dr. Clara Walters- Retired Principal and Education Consultant
*Parent's have dreams too! - Rosalyn Dunlap, Esquire


Thank you to our parents who packed our first parent only workshop!
You are vital to our student's success!


Speakers included Montaro Dunlap - this honor roll high school student discussed how his mother's drive as a single parent has had an impact on him.

His mother, Rosalyn Dunlap, Esquire - Parents have dreams too!
Veraunda I. Jackson, Esquire - What did you say?
Dr. Clara Walters - Parenting by design!

January 31st 2pm-5pm
Ebony Fashion Fair
Olympia High School

*Social Educational Activity sponsored by the Orlando Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority Inc.
*Attire all black business or church type attire*


Our young ladies enjoyed meeting the models who spoke with them about the
importance of education and being themselves. Commentator Jada Jackson-Collins (center) reminded the girls that we are all beautiful!


Thank you to the Orlando Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta for sponsoring 22 of our
young ladies who attended the 51st Ebony Fashion Show!

February 28th 10am-noon
Callahan Center

*Book discussion - reading assignment
Chapter one - Opening Act
Chapter two - There is always a script!
Chapter three -Dream Big!
Chapter four - What's your gift?
Chapter seven -You have to love you!
Pages 305-306 - Vern Graham's story


Our students discussed and shared their "Dream Books" with their teams


Through creating their personal dream books,
we are teaching our teens how to visualize their dreams


Mr. Meinrad and Mr. Avery working with our young men on their dream books


We join as a big circle to discuss their reading assignment from "Behind the Scenes!"
Each student shares their dreams or ask questions as we bring the book to life.

March 7th 9am-noon
VCC West Campus

*Sometimes life hurts!
*Rosalyn Dunlap, Esquire - overcoming family dysfunction
*Rachel Gray -the blessing of adoption
*Yolanda Winters - make up artist - overcoming poverty and drugs
*Charles Morse - Videographer -overcoming peer pressure and poverty
*David Washington- Former NYPD officer - choices and consequences
*Cloud 9- Relationships - Veraunda I. Jackson, Esquire


Our team is diverse in age and backgrounds, but most importantly we enjoy working with teenagers!


Charles Morse and David Washington claimed they talked about "male transference!"
Sometimes our young men need to just have male chats!


Retired New York Police Detective, David Washington talked to the young men about choices and the importance of respect.


Make up artist and hair stylist Yolanda Winters shared how she went from working at a cosmetology counter in a drug store to doing hair and make up for celebrities


Rachel Gray shared her story of being adopted by an American family from an orphanage in Korea. She has always felt "chosen" and explained that we are all special.

March 28th, 2009 9am-1pm
Valencia West Campus

Financial Aid Workshop - Conducted by Kenya Richardson
SSB-Student Services Building
Room 142-144 - Atlas Access Lab
*Juniors and Seniors only*
*Parents need to attend with student


VCC Financial Assistant Anthony helps Corinthia


Ms. Kenya helps Brianna and her dad fill out the forms


Team member and VCC Financial Aid Manager Kenya Richardson
explains the FAFSA form

April 28th, 2009
Callahan Center 10am-noon

*Book discussion - reading assignment
Chapter 5 - Passion equals Purpose
Chapter 6 - Sometimes life hurts
Chapter 8 - Don't quit, stay focused
Chapter 12 - Cloud 9 - Relationships


Mr. Avery awards Najee with best dream book award


Ms. Maxine checks in with her team on what is going on at home and in school


During book discussion students discuss what they are passionate about based on the reading assignment

May 9th 9am-noon
VCC West Campus

*Show me the money!
*Yvette Register - State Farm Insurance
*Attitude determines your Altitude - Kim Mowatt


4 Our Cookie Inc. Founder and CEO, Kim Mowatt, talked to our students
about the importance of attitude if they want to be successful. She brought along
her pom pom's to remind us that we can all be cheerleaders for each other as we
pursue our passion oriented dreams.


State Farm Agent, Yvette Register shakes a student's hand to make sure
she has a "firm and confident" handshake. Using our "Behind the Scenes!" book, Ms. Register worked through Chapter 13, "Show me the money!" The discussion included job interview tips, work ethic, and budgeting your money.


As our first community service project, parents, students and team members brought items for care packages for a Central Florida Army unit serving in the
Middle East.


Each student wrote a letter to a soldier to be included in our care packages.


We packed sixty boxes with various requested items like popcorn, zip lock baggies, envelopes, spaghetti-os, roman noodles, gum, candy, and pens to be shipped to our soldiers in the Middle East to enjoy on the 4th of July.

May 23rd 9am-noon
VCC West Campus

*Think out of the box!
*Lt. Bessie Hudson -Firefighter
*Kern Halls- Chef
*Darren Austin- Engineer


Chef Kern Halls, Host Veraunda, Fire Fighter Lt. Bessie Hudson, & Engineer Darren Austin
spoke with the students about:
1) Thinking out of the box
2) Getting involved
3) Mentorship


Our students and parents listened as Lt. Bessie Hudson told us about her
journey to become the first African American Fire Fighter in Orange County.


Future chef, Naje poses after getting his book autographed by chef Kern Halls

June 13th 10am-2pm
Hollywood Gala
Valencia Community College - West Campus, Health & Science Building Room 105

*Lights, camera, action!!!
*Adrienne Johnson - Former WNBA Player
*Deputy Jeff Rutfield - pilot

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July 18th
11:00AM-12:00 PM Tour Of Lt. Bessie Hudson’s Fire Station
Orange County Fire Station 54
6500 Central Florida Parkway
Orlando, Florida 32821


We enjoyed a tour of Orange County Fire Station 54


We learned some engineering secrets that we can't share with the public!


We tried on the gear


We learned about CPR


And we went waaay up in the bucket on the fire truck!

12:30PM-2:00 PM Bowling
Dowdy Pavillion – World Bowling Center
7540 Canada Ave
Orlando, Florida 32819 –Off of Sandlake Road
*Cost $10 for shoes and two games of bowling.
*Students should also have $5 for lunch


Bowling was a family affair


F or some of our ladies it was a fashion affair!


Once we figured out the scoring computers...


It was time to bowl!


Some of us were better than others...Amir bowled over
100 each game!

November 7th, 2009- Social Educational Activity
11:15AM-1:00 PM meet at the Wellsbuilt Museum
511 West South Street
Orlando, Florida 32805

1:30pm -3:30pm Semoran Skateway
2670 Cassel Creek Blvd
Casselberry, Florida 32702

Thank you to our community partners