Spokane MLK center reaches out to Eastern

Years after the passing of Martin Luther King Jr., his legacy lives on to encourage students to strive for a higher education.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center, located in Spokane is dedicating to improve the quality of life for children and families in the area.

“We provide a variety of social and educational programs to low income families,” executive director Freda Gandy said

The outreach center offers many different services for both children and young adults to help them get involved in the community and acquire necessary life skills to better their future.

According to their website, they strive to support local families, improve academic and social outcomes for children, improve leadership in youth and teens, encourage community involvement and celebrate Spokane’s diverse culture.

In order to uphold their goals, the outreach center and the EWU Office of Admissions partnered up with the center to create a symposium for 20 teenagers to learn about Eastern and the programs that EWU offers in the summer of 2013. The event was title “Students of Color Symposium.”

This event, Gandy said, was a way for students to realize there are people out there who will help them through the process and encourage them each step of the way.

Jana Jaraysi, associate director of admissions, was involved in the summer symposium and thought it was quite the experience.

“Dr. Jeffries wanted to create an event for students from the MLK Center to experience college life, and to show them they can come to college,” said Jaraysi.

Jaraysi continued to explain that the committee to put this event together consisted of members from not only the outreach center and the admissions office, but also Africana Studies, college of social and behavioral science and social work and the advancement office.

“Many students who are low income, first generation [students] don’t always have the change to spend the night at a university,” said Jaraysi. “Many don’t know how to pay for college.”

To show the students what college tuition amounted to, presentations were done to explain the processes admissions and financial aid.

“This program showed that yes, they can come to school here at EWU … if they put their minds to it,“ Jaraysi said.

The two-day event was planned and run by EWU ambassadors.

Janell Jordan explained that her job as an EWU ambassador was to encourage students to attend Eastern and motivate them to do more.

“[Ambassadors] make the students strive for their goals,” said Jordan.

Gandy agreed and said that her main goal is to see every student of hers go to college.

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