TMEP is growing up

Teen Maker Entrepreneur Program (TMEP) has finally got all it’s applications IN — forms, letters of references…and even follow up calls from some.

I actually received 21 applications…but luckily 5 were incomplete or ineligible — 3 lacking the required letters of recommendation and an overlapping 3 were only 15 (being 16 years old is a requirement of the program) …so I have my official 16 kids!

I have…

  • 8 BDS Students
  • 3 Cristo Rey Students
  • 2 Patterson High Students
  • 1 ACCE/Thread Student
  • 1 Western High Student
  • 1 Catonsville Student (The County)

There are…

  • 9 females
  • 7 malesOf those…
  • 10 are African American Students
  • 2 are Syrian Refugees (Thanks Susan and RYP)
  • 2 are Mixed Race Students
  • 1 Caucasian student
  • 1 Latino Student

I love the diversity that organically came in…city and county, Greenmount West kids and kids from other parts of town, and a range of high schools and races.   I feel this is a wonderful success to have more than enough applications…and have the non-accepted students lose out on technicalities…not merit.

I am also super appreciative of the thoroughness and ferver already displayed.  Case in point: Miss Graysen.

Graysen came to one of my info sessions about TMEP, but I didn’t get a chance to chat with her.  She was one of the first applicants to submit…and one of the first accepted — in my mind. She wrote a wonderfully well written statement about how she has been involved in several “community arts projects” and hoped that her “new knowledge would help [her] advance [her] next project(s).”  The part that struck me is I don’t mention anything about social justice or community arts in any of the handouts, paperwork, or application…but I din’t mention what my personal motivation for this work is and why inspired me to start this program.  She obviously took my words to heart….because her entire application was peppered with these words — including two photo references of murals she has worked on in the Baltimore city area.

My heart beamed for this child.  She is so advanced in so many ways…and I “accepted” her as soon as I finished reading her application.

Then Wednesday, the front desk buzzes me to tell me I have a student at the front looking to talk to me…and even notated she seems like she wanted to confront me.  I come out, it is Graysen.  She immediately jumps in to a question of wanting to know the status of her application because according to the application calendar, she was supposed to have had an interview last week and was never called, and she wanted notes as to why she wasn’t accepted so that she could do better next year.

I had that moment that I am sure many parents and/or mentors have, where they see a younger version of themselves embodied in the person in front of them.

I then notified her, her application and letter of recommendation was so stellar, she was simply accepted….and subsequently she SHOULD have her letter of notification in her email inbox congratulating her such news.  Her straight puffed shoulders bowed sheepishly for moment and then she sprung up with large eyes yelling “I got in?!” (followed by heavy breathing and a celebratory dance) — you think I had told her she just got accepted to Harvard or Yale.

And maybe in a way I did.  Maybe this training will be her version of Harvard or Yale…or maybe it will lead her to the skills to join an Ivy League school, if that is her aspiration…but either way I seriously can’t wait to see how she grows in the months to come.


Look for President Graysen in 2028