Tavis Smiley Foundation
The mission of the Tavis Smiley Foundation is to enlighten, encourage and empower youth by providing leadership training that will promote and enhance the quality of life for themselves, their communities and our world.
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Our work is based on the notion that young people have the capacity to become leaders in their chosen field of endeavor if given the exposure to concepts of leadership and the opportunity to demonstrate their skills through positive social action.
Young people have been at the core of every social movement in history and through our Leadership Institute we hope to identify the next generation of social change leaders.
Tavis Smiley is host of the nightly talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS, and the host of The Tavis Smiley Show and co-host of Smiley & West from Public Radio International (PRI). He founded the Tavis Smiley Foundation in 1999.
Over the last six months, I've had the privilege of talking to a group of African American teenage boys whose stories are often lost in all the heated rhetoric about how to fix our public schools. These boys could easily have added their lives to the historically high dropout rate that currently plagues African American teenage males, a dropout rate that nationally approaches 50% -- a crisis by any measure.
Angela Groves is a past member of the Tavis Smiley Foundation’s National Youth Advisory Council and recipient of its Youth in Action award. She is a rising senior at Princeton University and recently spent a semester studying in South Africa.
“And in the questioning comes the who am I, out of the listening comes through you I am. Through you I am.” As I stared at these words from South African poet Lueen Conning-Ndlovu painted on a tall canvas draping the walls of the District 6 Museum in Cape Town, South Africa, I realized how accurately these words capture the significance of my semester abroad at the University of Cape Town. Living in the beautiful yet deeply complex country of South Africa taught me the message I believe Conning-Ndlovu is conveying in her poem – that it is in recognizing the humanity of others that we ourselves become truly human. I learned firsthand that we are all inextricably connected to one another and that my world does not exist apart from the world of my sister.
Youth to Leaders alumni Elias Hendricks is currently performing the lead role of Simba in the Lion King at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. Hendricks is a past president of the Tavis Smiley Foundation's National Youth Advisory Council. He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University where he completed a degree in music performance in 2009. He is a native of Birmingham, Alabama where he performed extensively with Opera Birmingham.
Empowering today's youth for tomorrow
October 5, 2012 Deadline
Applications are being accepted for the 2012 Smiley Scholars scholarship program. If you are an alumnus of the Tavis Smiley Foundation program who graduated high school in 2012 and are majoring in a healthcare related field; you may be eligible to apply for a $5,000 scholarship. This program is supported by the United Healthcare Foundation. The deadline is 5 pm October 5, 2012. The complete application and guidelines are available on the Smiley Scholars page on this website.
The Tavis Smiley Foundation will NOT host the Leadership Institute program in July this summer. We are instead reviewing options to have the program later this fall or to resume our regular schedule in summer 2013. For all of those who have contacted us about the program and have continued interest, we will advise you of any updates via the email address you provided. Additionally, information will be posted here on our website.
If you are uncertain if we have your email address and you would like to stay in contact with us, please send us your preferred email address to email@example.com and we can add you to our newsletter email list.
Thank you and have a great summer.