Camp Bright Star summer scholars celebrated at closing luncheon

Bishop Curtis Guillory, Michael “Shane” Sinegal and Kevin Roy

IEA – Inspire, Encourage, Achieve – is a Southeast Texas nonprofit with a commitment to serving at-risk youth through programming that helps them identify their strengths and achieve dignity and respect. Student achievement of nearly 30 Camp Bright Star “scholars” was celebrated at Carrabba’s Italian Grill during a closing luncheon of Camp Bright Star, a six-week summer enrichment program.

With the help of Entergy as founding sponsor and other major supporters, including Valero, Charline Dauphin, the Wilton and Effie Mae Hebert Foundation, Total, the Gladys D. Bevil Charitable Trust, H-E-B, the YMBL, Linda and Joe Domino and BBVA Compass, Camp Bright Star scholars counter summer learning loss by acquiring knowledge in subject areas associated with reading, science, technology, engineering and math. Each morning of camp, inspiring messages and favorite “read aloud” passages of books are introduced by community leaders, many of whom were in attendance at the luncheon to congratulate the youth on their accomplishments.

In addition to awards presented in the areas of leadership, service, perfect attendance, and team spirit, scholars received Certificates of Achievement acknowledging their progress. Dressed in business attire, they led the order of the program – which included a motivational song as well as recognition of board members, sponsors, volunteers, parents and other guests.

Equipped with life lessons learned from personal development sessions facilitated by IEA team members and local community leaders, including IEA board members Kevin Roy, Bishop Curtis Guillory, Pat Avery, Linda Domino, J. Coffy Pieternelle, Robert Turner and a host of other individuals and professionals, the youth displayed profiles that highlighted key concepts of their Camp Bright Star experience, with space dedicated to career paths they plan to pursue.

A portion of the program was devoted to presentations by scholars who discussed how they related academic content to meaningful life application. For example, a service project involved constructing an outdoor deck at IEA’s outreach facility. The design of the deck represents the shape of a plant cell with plants and patio furniture corresponding to three-dimensional parts of a cell, adding a warm, inviting touch to the outdoor space. During the event, scholars also shared testimonials about their appreciation of activities that promote health and wellness, including basketball, boxing, dance and yoga.

Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames reminded scholars of their value by saying, “You really do matter and we absolutely support what you do.” She provided additional encouraging sentiments and concluded her comments with, “It’s evident you have gained so much from Camp Bright Star.”

IEA executive director Angeliqueca Avery summarized the successes of the program by telling scholars, “It has truly been a pleasure working with you and witnessing your progressive change over the past six weeks; our team at IEA has been inspired by your growth, and we hope that your experience in Camp Bright Star will encourage your continued progress.”

The strong support for IEA was apparent by the presence of luncheon attendees, which featured much of the Jefferson County judiciary, including Judges Bob Wortham, Larry Thorne, Randy Shelton, Donald Floyd and John Stevens. Officials including County Commissioner Michael “Shane” Sinegal, Chief of Police Jimmy Singletary of the Beaumont Police Department, BISD Superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois, and Jefferson County Juvenile Probation Chief Ed Cockrell joined a host of business and community leaders, along with IEA’s caring and committed staff and volunteers, who contributed their time, talent and resources to support the success of the scholars.

IEA founder Regina Rogers offered final remarks, reminding those in attendance of the real value of Camp Bright Star.

“It has been an emotional but very gratifying experience helping these young people discover their strengths during the past six weeks,” said Rogers. “I feel confident that the love in this room has empowered all of us to be inspired by what we have heard and witnessed today.”

The mission of IEA – Inspire, Encourage, Achieve – is to initiate and support educational programming and rehabilitative services for at-risk youth in Southeast Texas by inspiring and encouraging them to achieve. Services are offered at the Minnie Rogers Juvenile Justice Center and in the community through the organization’s outreach programs, including Ben’s Kids and Parent Project.

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