FBAA offers educational benefits

Photo Courtesy of Forever Bloom Alumni Association

By: Vanessa Paredes/Staff Writer 

Photo Courtesy of Forever Bloom Alumni Association

Communities, like flowers, need attention if they are going to bloom.

The Forever Bloom Alumni Association, which had its first meeting in fall of 2006, has blossomed into an organization known for its educational public charity led by not only community students and teachers, but also parents and local volunteers.

FBAA’s purpose is to promote both academic and social development of the community’s youth through various community service projects, mentoring, networking, achievement recognition support and even educational travel.

The Name “Forever Bloom” comes from Bloom’s taxonomy of learning domains as suggested by the organization’s founder, Anthony Reid.

The name essentially means that the organization will forever grow and aspire. In addition, despite the second part of the name “Alumni Association,” FBAA is for everyone and anyone who wants to participate.

Jerica Duverge, the president of FBAA, said that she initially joined FBAA to reconnect with a former peer, but later realized what FBAA was really about for her. “As time went by I could see that being part of FBAA is more than a way to do that,” Duverge said. “It’s a step towards building a better community by inspiring the youth and connecting with them.”

In the six years of FBAA’s existence, the Board of Directors and a few volunteers managed to create a wealth of programs to reach out to their community.

Among these programs is the Forever Mentoring Program. This program arranges mentoring partnerships between middle and high school students while college students are paired up with post-graduates and even professionals.

The organization houses approximately 200 full and junior members and works with other establishments, including “Stand Up For Love,” a group of dancers who perform in FBAA events to advocate positivity and social awareness in youth.

“Back to School Night,” which happens every year during the first week of school, consists of going to a local Fuddruckers for the purpose of donating school supplies to a local organization in need.

“Joining the group has helped me not only be more involved in the community but it has also opened my mind to ‘the bigger picture,’” added Duverge.

“Though no one has inspired me in my career venture specifically, they have inspired me in other aspects of my life; especially the younger members who are so innovative and creative. They inspire me to do things I never did when I was their age.”

In addition, the FBAA ADVENTravel Program, established in 2009, organizes community service-based trips for youth, such as a trip that took place during Spring 2010 to San Francisco.

“Through FBAA, members are able to experience things outside of their normal routine and they do it with guidance from their mentors.

The trip to Canada, for example, allowed students to go somewhere they normally would not, and to do it safely and enjoyably,” said Vanessa Grijalba, a senior and health service administration major.

“It forced members to step outside their comfort zone and experience things like cooking meals for their peers, going on a seven mile hike, riding public transportation, volunteering in a foreign country, and learning to take care of yourself.”

The second trip took place June 14th of this year. Their destination was Montreal, Canada where a total of 27 participants became acquainted with Montreal’s museums, city festivals and a community service event held at the University of Montreal.

This time around, study groups were created in order to maximize the learning experience, giving participants various assignments relevant to their trips.

The assignment included a 40-minute presentation on a topic related to Montréal.

“This organization, in essence, was created as a means of continuing the ardent process of young people learning, growing and realizing the limitless possibilities of sharing and exploring their world together,” said Duverge. “FBAA places great emphasis on striving towards high academic achievement, career advancement and upward social mobility.”

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