San Marcos,
11:38 AM

CSUSM conferences provide at-risk youth with courage to go to college

Media Advisory by Margaret Chantung

20th anniversary conference keynote speaker is Olympic Medalist John Carlos

Two upcoming annual conferences at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) are aimed at providing educationally-at-risk regional youth—particularly African Americans, Latinos, Samoans and Native Americans—with the tools and courage to overcome significant personal, social, cultural, educational and economic roadblocks to become college-bound.

The Sisters Gonna Work it Out and Brothers Gonna Work it Out conferences, now in their 20th year, include motivational speakers as well as workshops and panel discussions that stress the central role education plays in changing students’ lives, families and communities for the better. Over a hundred high school freshmen from across North San Diego County will be in attendance at each conference. Sisters Gonna Work it Out will be held on Friday, March 6 and Brothers Gonna Work it Out will be held on Friday, March 13. Both events take place from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the University Student Union ballroom.

Olympic bronze medalist John Carlos, who raised a fist in a controversial human rights salute meant to evoke political protest at an awards ceremony during the 1968 Summer Olympics, will be the keynote speaker at the Brothers Gonna Work it Out Conference. Other notable local leaders in attendance who will speak about their educational backgrounds and career paths include City of San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond, City of San Diego/District 8 Councilmember David Alvarez, Oceanside Unified School District Superintendent Duane Coleman, Associate Director of Athletics at the University of San Diego Dan Yourg, and Marine Corp Master Sergeant Elvis John-Baptiste.

Speakers at the Sisters Gonna Work it Out event include Director of Institutional Research and Black Student Union Advisor at the University of LaVerne Leeshawn C. Moore; CSUSM Special Coordinator of Transitional Counseling Norma Larios; Assistant Principal at El Camino High School Crystal Brownlee; Oceanside Unified School District Board Member and Founding Member North County African American Women's Association Lillian Adams; and CSUSM Professor Sharon Elise, Ph.D.

The conferences are a program of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at CSUSM. EOP serves students with a history of economic and educational disadvantage by providing support services that lead to a university degree.

“Brothers and Sisters Gonna Work it Out create a dialogue centered on the relevant issues these young men and women face in their pursuit of higher education while also seeking to provide solutions to the problems raised,” said Michael Lewis, CSUSM EOP special coordinator and transitional counselor. “Our goal is to create a context for them to be more receptive to the notion of pursuing post-secondary education and to underscore the importance of developing leadership skills to effectively address the concerns of their communities.”

Who: Over 100 regional high school youth, keynote speaker John Carlos, and other notable local leaders.

What: 20th Annual Brothers and Sisters Gonna Work it Out Conferences hosted by CSUSM’s Educational Opportunity Program


Sisters Gonna Work it Out – Friday, March 6, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Brothers Gonna Work it Out Friday, March 13, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Leadership panel at 9 a.m.
  • Q & A session with John Carlos and high school counselors at 11:25 a.m.
  • John Carlos Keynote at 12:30 p.m.

Where: CSUSM, University Student Union, Ballroom – 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd., San Marcos

Why: To provide African American, Latino, Samoan and Native American youth with positive strategies to combat and overcome the debilitating environment and conditions they face daily at school and on the streets. Workshops stress the central role education plays in this process to change current conditions. This program also provides information to assist the young men and women with realizing how the educational process affects them, their families and their communities.