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See It Through- President’s Letter

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The 2020/2021 school year was one of the most challenging times of my 35 years of involvement with the Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists. The uncertainty of the pandemic left all of us fighting for survival. In a two-month time frame, CABPES learned how to develop and administer afterschool Virtual STEM Programs to serve our students effectively. In addition, we sponsored a Virtual HBCU Roundtable Event, a Virtual STEM Career Fair, and a Virtual Women’s Table-Talk Event. Finally, we ended the school year with our Virtual Student Awards Banquet and Silent Auction. All of these events were enormously successful!

There are no words to express the grit that our students, parents, and volunteers demonstrated in helping CABPES successfully navigate through these challenges. But now that it is all over, I am trying to figure out what made us succeed against all odds? I am reminded of a poem I learned at Prairie View A&M University when I pledged the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated, in the fall of 1972. The poem is entitled, “See It Through,” by Edgar A. Guest.

When you’re up against a trouble,

Meet it squarely, face to face;

Lift your chin and set your shoulders

Plant your feet and take a brace;

When it’s vain to try to dodge it,

Do the best that you can do;

You may fail, but you may conquer,

See it Through!

 

Black may be the clouds about you

And your future may seem grim,

But don’t let your nerve desert you;

Keep yourself in fighting trim.

If the worst is bound to happen,

In spite of all that you can do,

Running from it will not save you,

See it Through!

 

Even hope may seem but futile

When with troubles you’re beset

But remember you are facing

Just what other men have met.

You may fail, but fall still fighting;

Don’t give up, whatever you do

Eyes front, head high to the finish

See it Through!

 

Because we “Saw it Through,” CABPES served more students in 2020/2021 than in the history of the organization. Our funders worked with us to ensure we had the funds to manage and run our afterschool virtual STEM programs effectively. In other words, our fundraising was at an all-time high. We recruited a cohort of new STEM firms excited about supporting our afterschool STEM programs as we move back to in-person learning. We are already registering new students and volunteers to join us in the fall. Because of the support and encouragement from all of you, our future is brighter than ever. Thank you for believing in CABPES!

 

Blessings,

Dewey F. Brigham, Jr., Ph.D.
CABPES President and Executive Director

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Advocacy for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – President’s Letter

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In February 2021, Americans came together to celebrate Black History Month. CABPES, like many American companies and nonprofit organizations, paid homage to historical Black pioneers and today’s African American leaders that played a significant role in shaping how Black people are viewed and treated by the majority race in the United States. The CABPES website presented information on Black historical figures, Black music, poetry, and inspirational speeches by Black leaders. CABPES highlighted on its website the pain and sufferings that Black people endured to teach the world about diversity, equity, and inclusion. In other words, a lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion are nothing new to African American people.

Black people have been fighting for diversity, equity, and inclusion since Slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Senseless hangings and killings of young Black males like Emmett Till, Rodney King, and Trayvon Martin were not enough to awaken the American consciousness to the injustices of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the United States of America. Ruthless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery erased all doubt in many Americans’ minds that racism, social injustice, and police brutality exist in the United States, especially in large cities where there are large demographics of African American people. It was not until the world saw an evil person press his knee on the neck of Mr. George Floyd as he begged for his mother while dying that many Americans finally acknowledged that enough was enough. There was no denying the hatred and systemic racism in America.

The aftermath of these cruel atrocities led companies and mainstream nonprofit organizations to have a change of heart in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion. These companies are interested in learning about Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). They want to create internship positions for students of color in high school and college. Companies want to hire professionals of color to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion within their organizations.

CABPES sought to bring these companies together during Black History Month by hosting its first-ever Virtual Career Fair. Sixteen companies participated in the Career Fair. The Aerospace Industry, the Oil & Gas Industry, Consulting Engineering Firms, Construction Companies, and the City & County of Denver put on a magnificent display of STEM presentations to over 150 people. The audience included students, parents, STEM professionals, educators, and representatives from HBCUs. We had presenters and guests from all over the United States, Australia and the Philippines. The Career Fair was an excellent show of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Our parents emailed and called to thank CABPES and let us know how mesmerized their children were to see such high-quality STEM presentations demonstrated by people of all races, gender, and nationalities. Collectively, we showed when people come together for the common good, racism, ignorance, and fear must take a backseat to redemptive goodwill and service to humanity. CABPES will continue to be a drum major in the fight for diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage our funders and corporate partners to join us to educate others on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Blessings,
Dewey F. Brigham, Jr., Ph.D.
CABPES President and Executive Director

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CABPES Awarded Grant from State Farm

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CABPES has been awarded a $25,000 grant from State Farm! The State Farm grant will be applied toward the Junior Engineers Tomorrow’s Scientists programming.

“CABPES STEM program is a great fit with State Farm’s focus on education,” said Louis Materre, State Farm agent and longtime advocate for CABPES. “We have a commitment to support local organizations and provide students with experiences and training to ready them for college and/or their future occupations.”

The mission of State Farm is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams.

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CABPES in the Community

“Every Month is Black History Month”

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The Nonprofit Strategy Group discusses the importance of past, present and future Black leaders and the core foundation of CABPES- teaching students to overcome, achieve and accomplish. Read more here.

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CABPES in the Community

40 Years Later the Dream Continues for the Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists

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CABPES supporter and community partner, Central Park finds out what gives CABPES such longevity in our community. Read more about the history of CABPES and how we keep our mission alive here.

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CABPES in the Community

CABPES Named Partner of Colorado Energy Foundation

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CABPES has been awarded a position as one of the Colorado Energy Foundation’s 2021 cohort of community nonprofits to receive grant funding. CABPES is proud to partner with the Colorado Energy Foundation in our joint work to remove systemic barriers to equality and access for all Coloradoans.
Read more about our partnership here.

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CABPES in the Community

CABPES Awarded Grant from Halliburton Foundation

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CABPES has been awarded a $20,000 grant from Halliburton Foundation. This grant will support the 2020/2021 Junior Engineers, Tomorrow’s Scientists program. CABPES is proud to partner with the Halliburton Foundation in our joint work to encourage and assist African American and other underrepresented minority youth in their pursuit of STEM careers.

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Looking to the Future – President’s Letter

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Sometimes obstacles are placed in our lives to encourage us to make changes. Changing is difficult and tends to generate unwanted fears. Often, we hear people say, “that is how we always did it.” COVID-19 has caused all of us to make some new adjustments in our lives. Today, we live in a world of virtual workdays comprised of virtual meetings, virtual education for our children and grandchildren, virtual graduations, and virtual programs and events.

COVID-19 has meddled with how CABPES has run its after-school programs for the past 40 years. We can no longer go into a school and speak to STEM classes or hand out flyers at parent-teacher meetings or other community events. Recruiting students to participate in our after school programs has been challenging in 2020.
I discussed my frustrations with a colleague a couple of weeks ago who works in leadership in public schools. This person stated, 90% of all nonprofit organizations like CABPES face the same problem. My friend went on to tell me that students are facing Zoom fatigue. Students are not interested in participating in after-school programs in Zoom because of being in front of a computer all day. I was informed that 30% of Denver after-school programs would not survive COVID-19.

This enlightenment was a wake-up call for me. I learned that even though CABPES numbers are not where we want them to be. We are doing better than most after-school programs. I begin to reflect on the things that CABPES is doing to generate success. However, we are nowhere near our ultimate goals.

CABPES has dedicated and committed volunteers that are meeting the challenges of teaching in a virtual environment. To date, we ran successful summer online JETS and MEP programs. Our virtual Future City Competition Program is operating almost flawlessly. Our fall online Math Enrichment and SAT/ACT programs are improving daily. Our volunteers continue to generate new ideas and different ways of doing things every day in this virtual environment. Our students and volunteers are working tirelessly in IXL, a computer math software program.

CABPES increased its marketing and branding efforts one-hundredfold. We have a brand-new website that promotes all the work we do in teaching STEM to our students. CABPES elevated its grant writing efforts to overcome lost revenue from not hosting our largest fundraiser event in May 2020. We are improving our social media presence through Facebook and LinkedIn. Our quarterly newsletters, marketing brochures, program flyers, and videos are produced with a passion for presenting the excellent work that CABPES is doing in serving our students. Finally, we are writing a 3 to 5-year Development Plan to ensure our organization and its programs continue the trajectory that we are currently experiencing.

Parents and educators, if you are looking for an organization that can help your students stay on track for academic success, please contact our office. To the many companies that are looking for volunteer opportunities for your employees, “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” To the numerous foundations and companies looking for organizations to invest your funds, please contact CABPES; we are the #1 STEM Program in Colorado.

Blessings,
Dewey F. Brigham, Jr., Ph.D.
CABPES President and Executive Director