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Local Foundation Celebrates African-American Youth Leadership Academy Graduates

Published on Monday, December 20, 2021 | 5:14 pm

Success breeds its own success, as was aptly demonstrated Saturday at the annual alumni reunion meeting for Pasadena-based Gamma Zeta Boule Foundation, a local non-profit mentoring African-American high school students.

Three graduates of the foundation’s Leadership, Achievement, Management, and Professionalism (LAMP) special mentoring program—London Wright, Nicholas Richards-Craven, and Dylan Wilson—addressed current high school members of the group at a private luncheon held in San Marino.

Each of the alums came to the group with lofty goals for each LAMB member to aspire to reach. Both Richards-Craven and Wright were seeking careers in psychology while Wilson said he hoped to eventually open an exotic automobile dealership and eventually parlay that dream into building luxury housing.

“Today is especially significant,” said current president Ramsey Jay Jr.,  “because this is our annual opportunity for our alumni graduates of our program to come home during the holidays and share their learning and wisdom. The phrase we use for that, is  ‘peer to peer empowerment.’”

“Some of the students who have gone on and entered college are coming back to talk and work with some of the newer students,” explained Jay.

The  LAMP program has been preparing young African American males for the professional world, while promoting leadership, personal development, community service, political or civic engagement and decision-making expertise, according to a LAMP statement.

The annual LAMP cycle begins around August and culminates in May the next year, as mentees meet at least once a month, usually on the third Saturday, at locations from the greater Pasadena area to the Inland Empire, at high schools and colleges, museums, sports arenas, theaters, and other places suitable for presenting LAMP topics.

Participants are introduced to as many institutions as possible to expand their knowledge base and open up their minds to career opportunities.

Sessions provide students and their parents an opportunity to learn more about the college admissions process and financial aid, as well as writing, networking, financial literacy and interviewing skills.

“We want to make sure,” stressed Jay,  “that we’re planting seeds that clearly take root. And then bear fruit and come back and recycle to the next generation.”

“When you see a young man who’s been in our program, come home on a Saturday when he has time to be with his family, friends and other things, of course, he gets up at eight o’clock to come put on a suit and tie to sit in front of other young men in suits and ties,” Jay said.

“It tells you that there’s a tremendous value in what we’re depositing, that they not only need, but that they want to make sure others who need it, get it from them.”

The LAMP program is free to students and parents, and is open to high school-aged African-American males, grades 9 to 12. Applicants must apply and, along with a parent or guardian, participate in an orientation session that introduces them to the program.

As Jay pointed out, “These young men represent the best of the best and they are extraordinary in so many capacities. These truly are the future leaders.These are the people who are gonna solve issues that we are wondering, how we’re going to solve them. And not only do they deserve our support, they deserve our congratulations while they’re doing the work now. Not after they get there.

“I think it’s important for our community at large,” Jay continued,  “to recognize them for who they are and what they do. And look to them for positions of leadership while they’re still in the community. These are young men that I think are more than worthy of our collective communal investment.”

More information about LAMP is available at

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