Sometimes the best laid plans are disrupted. You can plan and mark your calendar, but then guess what? Life happens!
That’s right. You map out your life, sometimes in a vacuum and other times, with the help of friends or loved ones. It seems perfect, easy to achieve if you take certain steps.
It sounds easy and you are confident ; that is…until life happens.
Which brings me to my truth.
I wasn’t trying to come up with something I planned to be doing into another century. I was living for the moment. I asked for friends to help me fulfill a need.
I had a mission: raise funds to help our youth go to college, participate in educational programs and grow.
First Chuck D of Public Enemy gave his support, followed by comedian Dick Gregory (who came almost every year prior to his death in 2017).
I’m talking about “Cheryl Smith’s Don’t Believe the Hype Celebrity Bowl-a-thon,” usually held in June.
In addition to providing scholarships, internships and fellowships, we even bought a suit for a young man to wear to his high school graduation.
Can you imagine graduating with honors and not having anything to wear to the ceremony?
Well, the Don’t Believe the Hype Foundation has fulfilled similar needs for over 25 years. In addition to funding trips to journalism conferences/conventions from Seattle to D.C. and Milwaukee to Baton Rouge; a student in Sen. Royce West’s Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program received a scholarship for the past 25 years — the Dr. Betty Shabazz Academic Excellence Scholarship— and aspiring journalists received over $50,000 between the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists scholarship program and Urban Journalism Workshop.
Usually our biggest fundraiser, the celebrity bowl-a-thon, is held in June and people from all over come to support. With major corporate and community support this much-anticipated event was always a success. We are grateful to the “leaders,” celebs and media; as well as the community members who participated.
In spite of COVID-19, we have still awarded scholarships and provided internships.
Although we haven’t had the bowl-athon since 2019, we did have the Healthy Living Expo at the African American Museum on Dr. Martin Luther King Day last January and we were able to provide scholarships through that effort.
I asked someone when were they going to open up a facility and they said “when COVID is over!”
I told them that would be a long time, because the way things are going, COVID is part of our reality as other epidemics have become.
Our communities have been in a state of pandemonium for a long, long time. We must survive COVID-19 and we must continue working for our future.
As far as the Don’t Believe the Hype Celebrity Bowl-a-thon goes; we’re looking forward to gathering again, one day.
In the meantime, let’s continue supporting our youth. Please give today. I’m calling on everyone who cares about our future, all who have participated in the past, previous scholarship winners or benefactors, let’s all continue to lift as we climb!
And stay tuned right here because we will be inviting you back out again soon and we are prayerful that we will see your face in the place!