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Youth Camp at Metro Technology Centers’ Plants Seeds of Inspiration

Community Outreach and Wellness Department Hosts Men Designed 4 Greatness Youth Project Camp at Metro Tech Springlake Campus 

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Men Designed 4 Greatness Youth Project Camp is taking the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” to the next level. In partnership with Metro Technology Centers’ Community Outreach and Wellness Department, the day camp, featuring math, reading and writing based activities teaches local elementary and middle school students how to discover their purpose for their life.

On a clear-skied evening in 2016, Hairstylist and Salon Owner, LaRhonda Fields, was shot while in her apartment. She was rushed to the hospital with a gunshot wound that traveled from the back of her skull and exited through the right ear. Fields is grateful to have survived the incident and believes that the act was gang related, but was a misidentification. The incident was in no question mentally and physically traumatizing for Fields. However, she decided to turn her fear into action.

“Sometimes bad things have to happen to spark change,” Fields said.

Five years later, Fields began putting books in the All City Fadez and Kuttin’Up barber shops in Oklahoma City to provide the young men in the community easier access to various reading materials. The barbers began to use the books by asking their young customers to read to them while they get their hair cut and even established incentives to encourage them to read more.

“After all that happened in 2016, I really began to see how the young men in the area were struggling to find their purpose,” Fields said. “They were crying out in so many ways and most of the time it was through gun violence. I wanted to take that energy and help them put it towards their purpose.”

After seeing success in the growth of her mission, Fields was driven to serve even more young men in her community by partnering with the non-profit, Best Technology and several others to establish the Men Designed 4 Greatness Project. Since then, they have placed hundreds of donated books in more than eight barber shops and are actively looking to grow the project to reach more barber shop locations all throughout the Metro.

Looking to reach more youth outside of barber shops, Fields pursued the opportunity to collaborate with her connections at Metro Technology Centers’ Community Outreach and Wellness Department to host the Men Designed 4 Greatness Youth Project Camp for local elementary and middle school boys and girls at Metro Techs’ STEM Academy.

Community Outreach and Wellness Director, Valerie McMurry, said the department is consistently trying to find ways to serve the children of the community, and with Fields’ inspiring story and mission in mind, there was no question whether or not they would partner with her to host the camp at the Springlake Campus. “Our whole purpose is for the underserved and the youth of the community,” McMurry said. “The children are our future.”

About the Camp

The first day for campers is titled “Vision Day”. On Vision Day, the children are inquired to think about their favorite hobbies and talents and write them down. Throughout the rest of the day, they build a vision map using magazine clippings and glue to create their own poster boards that describe how they will reach the end goal, or vision, for their life.

Symbolism within the magazine clippings includes components the children will need to consider to reach the goal, such as specific training or education. Numerous volunteers participate each weekend by helping campers understand the educational materials.  

Those who attend Vision Day will then move to phase two, Entrepreneurship Day. Entrepreneurship Day will teach the campers how to start their own fruit-bar business. For the first activity, they will receive a cup to personalize by using arts and crafts materials. Then, they will put their choice of fruit and other toppings in the cup. After they create a name for their fruit-bar business, the campers will have already practiced math, writing and creative skills all while learning the basics of business.

On its debut weekend in June, State Representative and Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus Chair, Jason Lowe, paid a visit to speak about his roles and the impact they make on the communities within the district. “I am so grateful that he was able to come by,” Fields said. “He is a role model in our community, and I wanted the children to see that you don’t have to look at TV or the internet to find inspiration. It’s right here.”

Fields said the camp serves many purposes, children have the opportunity to connect with others their age, explore career opportunities and work on their math, speaking, reading and writing skills. However, for Fields, the bigger picture is much more integrated than the children currently understand.

“We’re trying to focus on kids who might struggle with depression, negative influences within their environment, or finding their purpose in life and give them the basics they need to know to succeed,” Fields said. “The more they continue to work towards their purpose, the more they will stay away from violence. By planting seeds of inspiration within them at a young age, I believe they are more likely to focus on their purpose as they grow up.”

Fields plans to continue the camp throughout the year and incorporate more activities to continue inspiring ambition for any and all youth that wish to attend. Any new campers who come Saturday, July 9, will be separated from phase two campers and will participate in Vision Day activities.

If you are interested in enrolling your child for free, or volunteering for The Men Designed 4 Greatness Youth Project Camp at Metro Technology Centers’ STEM Academy, please contact LaRhonda Fields at mendesigned4greatness@yahoo.com.

  • Press Release

Metro Technology Centers
One of the largest and most diverse technology centers in Oklahoma, Metro Tech has four campuses offering short-term, career and customized business training. Campuses are located in South Oklahoma City, Northeast Oklahoma City, the Will Rogers Airport and Downtown Oklahoma City. www.metrotech.edu

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