Friday, July 10, 2009

My Action Plan/ What Im Going To Bring Back

When I first got to Brown numerous things went through my mind. Who am I going to meet? What can these people possibly teach me? Am I good enough to be here. And after this course I found out the answer to all those questions. The people I met her are wonderful people who are very social and people with whom I would like to keep in touch with forever. My teachers Nell and Nora taught me a lot of things about myself that I didn't even know. They taught me how to be a leader most importantly. If I want change, I have to go out there and get it. If I think something is unjust, I should fight for what I think is right. That's why when I get back to California I want to build on my group called the Brown Bears and make it more global. I want to not only be able to help struggling kids in my community out, but also struggling kids around the country. So here is my action plan explaining everything I learned since I have been here, and not only do I want to thank Brown for allowing me to learn, but also for my mom, the Ivy League Connection Staff, Ms. Lamons, and all who helped me get to where I am today and for shaping me up into who i'm going to be in the future.

My thoughts/ Action Plan:
Part 1- Why It’s Important to me.

Before I came here I didn’t always have good grades. I began falling behind my junior year, and my grades began declining. I was always so focused on sports and tried spending all my time trying to be the best, and I didn’t notice that I was getting a 2.7 my junior year. This started becoming a problem for me because I was getting yelled at by my mom, and my coach who knew I could get better grades, I just wasn’t balancing my time. Then one day a teacher that I didn’t even know saw me struggling and submitted my name for a group called the Ivy League Connection. Never in my life have I ever dreamed of going to an Ivy League school. The Ivy League Connection required me get my grades up and strive harder in school if I wanted to go to the Summer at Brown program. “This is a chance that you can’t pass up”, said my mom and my coach, “a chance of a lifetime”. This made me think, sports isn’t everything. I then started focusing more on school and my grades went up from a 2.8 my 3rd quarter of my junior year to a 3.6-3.7 the 4th quarter. This all happened because someone pushed me to strive harder and helped me realize my full potential, and that’s what I want to do for other kids.

Part 2- Starting the Action Plan
Months ago I created a group called the Brown Bears because I was inspired by, not only the Ivy League Connection, but also by the Black Panthers. The Black Panthers showed that they fought for what they wanted and what they thought was right for not only themselves, but for others. I created the Brown Bears, a completely student run organization, for the sake of my peers. I noticed that kids were beginning to not care about their education and started giving up and saying things like “I will amount to nothing in life anyway”, or, “what’s the point?, It’s not like it matters”. But the thing was, their grades did matter. High school grades decide what college you will go to, and that will decide your future. So my kind of “alternative gang”-- the Brown Bears-- helps kids find special opportunities and programs, such as Summer at Brown, that they can apply for and do, and we also help each other with homework and discuss community problems and gang violence. I started the Brown Bears specifically because I know way too many people that are on the streets selling drugs, are in gangs, or are having trouble getting good grades in school. The group meets every Saturday so that kids know that they don’t need gangs to resort to when they have us, the Brown Bears, who treat each other like family and like to help each other out, no matter what the problem.

Part 3- Resources/ Going Global
When I help people that decide to be in the Brown Bears, they have to be willing to help themselves first. So far we have about 20 people in the Brown Bears and counting, but if I could get my school to help out then I know there would be more. Kids at my school are always looking for opportunities to get somewhere in life whether it be scholarships, programs, tutoring, as long as it benefits them in the long run. That’s why I would like to inform my school about the Brown Bears so that teachers, counselors, and fellow high school students can help out too. I’m sure that the tutoring part would go better if we had actual teachers with degrees in certain subjects and counselors that can give me information about scholarships and programs that I can spread the word about. I am also in Forensics Speech and Debate and AASU, so I could use those and talk about the Brown Bears as one of my speeches. The other resources I need are: money for some trips to colleges, an actual meeting place instead of the bookstore or park (especially if this organization gets big), flyers, and people who are willing to spread the word. The way I would get these resources are simply by asking teachers to be involved with the Brown Bears, and start fundraisers and tell parents and adults about what the Brown Bears do. At my school, only a hand full of students knew about the Summer At Brown program, but when I told them they were interested, but it was too late. This is bad because students should be informed about the many opportunities around them and they should all have a chance to be involved inside or outside their communities. The targets of my program are high school students because I want to help them reach their full potential and be a well-rounded student because that’s what colleges really look for. I not only want my high school to know about this, but also high schools around the world. I already talked to some high school students in New York about starting a New York Brown Bear chapter. My timeline for this project is infinitesimal. I want to keep helping kids grow as long as I live because I don’t want them resorting to drugs, gangs, or giving up, just because they have it hard. There is always an alternative to things, and I want to keep kids thinking that they actually can make it in life, and I want them all to realize that the dreams that they have could be achieved. I accept anyone who is willing to help my cause, as long as it benefits those in the program. Even though I am going to be busy and have a lot on my plate, I will still be able to meet with kids on the weekends or some weekdays after school when I don’t have football so this will be organized on and off campus. I spread the word all the time through phone calls, texts, telling kids at school, MySpace, and even Facebook. The only challenges I could possibly face is money because not enough kids have money to go on trips or can pay for certain activities that I might have such as a getting together and having a potluck, or even playing sports together to keep people active. That’s why I am going to try and ask parents, teachers such as Ms. Lamons, and Mr. Wilson, asking my school, other schools and even other people in power to donate money for the Brown Bears program. I will try to individually ask parents and teachers one by one at a place that’s best for them and tell them about the Brown Bears.I know I will overcome this now though because the social change program, teachers, and speakers, taught me that you don’t need to start off with power or a lot of money to be a leader, you just need to find people who believe in your cause and are willing to help you.


Charles Tillman Ramsey said...


You are full of ideas and action plans. This is great. I am sure that you will put all of your heart and soul into the Brown Bears program at Pinole Valley High School. I welcome coming to Pinole Valley High School to witness the progress that you will hopefully have with the program.

I want to remind you to take deliberate steps in implementing your ideas. Remember many students do not share the same passion and vision and it will take a lot of time to convince others that what you are doing is valuable. I know that this has been the case with the Ivy League Connection. Many students dismissed our program and turned a blind eye to what we had to offer.

I see that having the chance to be in this program inspired you and was the "jump start" you needed to really see your full potential. Now you know your full poetential and you have the chance to expand on it.

Zackery, one suggestion that I would make for you is to engage in deeper research. Do not always accpet at face value everything that you read or hear. Go deeper in your analysis and find out both sides. Too often, people only hear from certain factions and never understand that someone may see what you see or feel differently. We are all shaped by your experiences and you need to be conscious of that. This upcoming school year will give you a chance to really learn a lot about us and our community.

Now is your chance to work with Ms. Kim and find out what is the right fit for you in going to college. I hope that you will make sure that you find a skill that allows for your leadership skills to shine.

Have a safe flight home.

Take care.

Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
School Board Member
West Contra Costa
Unified School District

Madeline Kronenberg said...


What a great plan!!

Your enthusiasm is contagious and I am so happy to learn that you were open to becoming a leader.

I can see how important this is to you -- and I know your enthusiasm will produce the energy you need to get going. But please be careful that you are disciplined about your time commitments. Just like it was easy to become engrossed in sports, it will be easy for you to become so dedicated to the Brown Bears, that you could lose your momentum as a student.

So, you need to think very strategically and become a "time management master" to balance the Brown Bears with school, sports, Ms. Kim and your college search
-- just keep this in mind.

I know your teachers and Ms. Kahn will be on board with you.

Keep in touch and let us know how things are going.

Safe travels home.

Don Gosney said...


Heartfelt sentiments and a boldly ambitious action plan.

You’ve set out some fine goals in your plan with the Brown Bears but have you thought much about how to implement them? Do you have any ideas on how you might be able to get the financing you need, secure a larger meeting facility or ho you might bring into your fold experienced people who can help with the guidance and tutoring?

You’re on the right track but when you develop an Action Plan you need to come up with a list of things you want to accomplish and then you need to add to that a plan and strategy for making your dreams come true. That’s where the “action” part of the name comes in.

You still have another month and a half before school starts so you have plenty of time to devote to your Action Plan to turn it into a reality. Now, what can we count on you to do?

Lastly, what kind of mentor would I be if I didn't sign off by reminding you to proof your work before you send it. When you write proposals soliciting financial help or help from people who have the expertise you need, you want them focused on what you're writing and not how it was written. This will be a lifelong problem for most of us so we need to get in that habit starting this very minute.