Toyota’s Young Black Scholars

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They are bright, eager and ready to face new challenges, but the departure was bittersweet.  Toyota’s Young Black Scholars  (YBS) mentors recently bid a heartfelt farewell to eight of their high school mentees. 

Family, friends and Toyota mentors gathered at the Bluewater Grill in Redondo Beach, California to reflect upon four years of building relationships, mentoring and preparing students for future success. 

These scholars were selected out of a plethora of promising 9th graders to participate in a series of academic support workshops, activities and receive services to assist in preparing them for college. 

The eight college-bound graduates include Latalya Andrews -- Clark Atlanta University; Tyrone Carter -- University of Southern California; Laura Marshall -- Temple University; Michael Williams -- California State University Channel Islands; Portia Ford – University of California, Berkley; Jade Turner – University of California, Irvine; Emmitt McGee II – California State University, Dominguez Hills; and Gil Jackson -- Cal State Northridge.

Twenty-year-old self-made millionaire and businessman, Farrah Gray addressed the scholars at the graduation about how to become rich from the inside out. 

He encouraged the students to give back to their community and spoke of his extraordinary journey from a six-year old carrying homemade business cards in his "briefcase" (a plastic lunch box) to where he is today. Gray also gave each graduate a signed copy of his book “Reallionaire, Nine Steps to Becoming Rich from the Inside Out�.

Toyota’s YBS mentoring program is an endeavor that pairs Southern California high school students with African American mentors working at Toyota’s Torrance, Calif. Headquarters, and is a unique partnership with the Young Black Scholars program.

Every year as the senior mentees graduate, Toyota associates make a four-year pledge to a new group of local freshmen.  Mentors and mentees keep in touch through e-mail and phone calls and also interact at company-sponsored events throughout the year. 

This year 25 mentees were involved in the program, which began in 1996 when Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. partnered with the Young Black Scholars (YBS), an educational project of the 100 Black Men of Los Angeles.

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