Morehouse College Professor Pilots Life Success Readiness Curriculum for High-Risk Populations

Systemic economic deprivation in black and brown communities is rampant in America. Breaking the cycle requires collective societal focus and action. Dr. Belinda Johnson White, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Leadership, Morehouse College; Atlanta, Georgia, believes that targeted educational interventions play a crucial and critical role in addressing economic scarcity issues in minority communities. White’s successful work of more than 27 years teaching leadership skills, self-efficacy and life success skills at Morehouse College, demonstrates the power of formal life-skills educational intervention to the success of black and brown lives. 

Using the leadership development model created through her teaching and research, White is building a holistic life success curriculum targeted to middle and high school students (6th – 12th grade boys and girls) in fragile communities in urban and rural populations. The curriculum goal is to assist young learners in developing and practicing personal leadership and professionalism skills in order to form habits of excellence that will lead to life-long success through economic stability and growth, self-sufficiency, entrepreneurial mindset, and generational wealth. 

The Center for Educational Opportunity has funded the Phase 1 pilot curriculum. It was launched in October 2019 through the ASPIRE (Amazing Students Putting in Resilient Effort) Program at Alabama State University (ASU), Montgomery, Alabama, where Cynthia Handy serves as director. ASPIRE is an after-school enrichment program located on the campus of Alabama State University. ASPIRE partners with Montgomery Public Schools to encourage students to stay in school, foster college-preparatory academic success, and promote positive social development.

“The beauty of Dr. White’s model is the holistic approach to personal development—a life experience based on spiritual, physical, social, emotional, academic and financial well-being,” said Handy.